Volunteers Helping to Predict Tree Diseases

Up a Tree(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

This morning, I came across this great environmental volunteer story out of University of California, Berkeley. A study just published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment offers more support for the efforts of volunteers as citizen scientists, even concluding, in part, that “using long-term citizen-science data to predict the risk of emerging infectious plant diseases in urban ecosystems holds substantial promise. ” The study reveals just how successful volunteers have been at predicting sudden oak death (SOD), a disease that has killed numerous trees in California. Data from the volunteers was gathered during an event called the SOD Blitz, during which, ““The data we got…resulted in the formulation of the best predictive model yet about the spread of sudden oak death in California. Additionally, we were able to identify new infestations and identify trees that needed to be removed,” according to one of the study’s authors. The SOD Blitzes have become a massive project which take place every year and are, according to UC Berkeley,  “part of the largest citizen science effort in the country.”

 

For more stories of environmental volunteers, check out my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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