|| Updated October 13, 2015|
Weed Data Collection
Calflora has been working with the California Invasive Plant Council
and other organizations engaged in weed management since 2010
to collect and map weed data across California.
Cal-IPC is interested in weeds on the
Cal-IPC Inventory list.
Published observations of plants on this list are forwarded from Calflora to Cal-IPC's
The Weed Manager System
Calflora released Weed Manager in June, 2015,
for organizations engaged in land management to track weed infestations and treatments over time.
Weed Manager represents an significant evolution of Calflora's
ability to collect plant observation data, including
organization-specific forms and other sophisticated features.
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While the Bay Area Early Detection Network (BAEDN) was active,
Calflora worked closely with them to collect
observations of plants on the
Bay Area Early Detection Weeds list.
How the BAEDN folks came up with their list is fascinating,
and is described in detail in
Once the BAEDN list was made public, it had the effect of
galvanizing the data collection efforts of many individuals and agencies in
the Bay Area. As a result, we know much more now about
where those weeds are growing and spreading in Bay Area counties.
For instance, there were 20 records of
Rytidosperma penicillatum (purple awned wallaby grass)
reported in the Bay Area before June 1, 2011. Since that date,
an additional 1150 records have been reported in the Bay Area.
The additional knowledge about the whereabouts of this plant is a direct result of BAEDN's efforts.
© 2010 Robert Steers/NPS
Choosing Target Weeds
What makes a weed stand out as an early detection target
in a certain area?
Andrea Williams wrote the following in her
2009 description of a volunteer based protocol
for the National Park Service
Detection of Invasive Plant Species in
the San Francisco Bay Area Network):
"The list of target species for each park was based on current knowledge and rankings, summing
recognized invasiveness and biological ease of control and stratifying into priorities by feasibility
of control based on species' infested acreage in the park." (pg. xvii)
National Park Service Resource Brief
further explains the protocol:
exotic plants on SFAN land
are classified into four lists, from high to low priority.
The point of invasive plant early detection is to
find potentially problematic invasive plants ...
while they can still be easily controlled ...
Collecting adequate data is fundamental, and is used
- To determine the distribution and abundance of target invasive plant species
- To measure the success of removal activities
- To understand how different invasive plants threaten local ecosystems
- To re-prioritize which species and locations to target on future surveys
- To determine the factors that
lead to new infestations
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A Tale of Two Groups
In the Calflora model, each data contributor has their own account.
When several data contributors need to work closely together,
they can start a
The following two Calflora groups have a statewide focus on weeds,
and significant membership.
Invasive Plant Mapping group (formerly CalWeedMapper Contributors)
is one of the first Calflora groups, and dates from late 2011 when
Cal-IPC was collecting weed data wholesale from other organizations.
Anyone who contributed data to CalIPC's effort was added as
a member of this group.
Since then, some members have continued to add individual weed
observations, or to periodically upload weed datasets into the
Where should I put my observation record?
If your record is published, it does not strictly matter into which group
you put it, because the interested people are likely to find it sooner or later.
Groups are a mechanism for collaborating between contributors,
particularly with respect to unpublished records.
If you put your record into a group while it is still unpublished, then
the people in that group will be able to see it,
and people outside the group will not.
There is also a social aspects of groups:
when you add an observation to a group,
the other members of the group will likely
find out about it, either from an email,
by looking at group activity, or by doing a Group Observations search.
Seeing your record may encourage other members to
add addional records of their own. In this way
some groups develop a kind of data collection synergy between members.
Once your record is published, if you want to inform people in another group
about it, you can write a comment on the record, and send the comment
to the other group. Anyone in the group who has email notification turned on
will receive your comment as an email. Your comment will also be
visible in group activity (from the group home page).
Early Detection Network group
is the successor to BAEDN's data collection activities.
Anyone can join this group.
As BAEDN's effort demonstrated,
the key to any kind of early detection data collection is
to have an early detection target list defined for a specific area.
BAEDN defined a
target list for the Bay Area.
Eric Wrubel defined a
target list for Pinnacles National Park.
Efforts to define target lists for other regions are underway.
For instance, the
Orange County CNPS chapter
is working on this
list of emergent invasives --
weeds recently arrived in Orange County, or with very few populations,
and believed to pose a significant threat to natural areas.
(Note that this focus on emergent or incipient population
weeds is different from the more classic approach to identifying
early detection targets that BAEDN followed.)
The Early Detection Network is a Weed Manager group,
and has a "project" for each area of the state where there is
significant data collection activity. So far these three:
San Benito County
Weed Manager officially released.
Four Geoweed datasets imported into Weed Manager for
the National Park Service.
Second Weed Manager partners meeting in Berkeley.
Calflora contributed county level records of non-native
plants to EddMAPS.
First Weed Manager partners meeting in Berkeley,
with a demonstration of the alpha version of the Observer Pro phone app.
Calflora contributed 230K non-native
plant observations to the Calfornia Department of
Fish and Game
The data that appears on BIOS is the result of
a long conversation with the folks at BIOS about exactly
what fields etc. they wanted to be included.
Interestingly, lines and polygons are not included.
Each record has a field indicating location quality (relative
to the whole dataset) and a field indicating overall record quality
(relative to the whole dataset).
UC Integrated Pest Management (UC Davis)
has excellent coverage of agricultural weeds at the
There are now links to the UC-IPM weed detail pages
from each relevant Calflora Taxon Report page -- for instance,
Abutilon theophrasti (the link is in Other Sources, bottom right).
All weeds covered by UC-IPM are also available as a
uploaded 137,481 observation records
during a six month period ending October 12, 2011.
First, a number of partner organizations contributed their
data using the
Metadata Catalog application.
Then Cynthia used the
application on the contributed data,
and when necessary, contacted data contributors to resolve
ambiguous taxa or other details.
The records are mostly of weeds, but include some native plants
and a great deal of shape data --
a huge effort with a huge benefit.
At the October, 2011 Cal-IPC Symposium at Tahoe City,
Cal-IPC demonstrated the beta version of
a quad-level online atlas of wildland weed
distribution based on data from various sources including
local expert knowledge.
Calflora has been working closely with Cal-IPC since 2010 to
collect weed observation data for CalWeedMapper.
If you are working on weeds for a county or
weed management area, CalWeedMapper
will suggest which weeds are the important targets in your area,
and produce documentation that can help secure funding
for surveillance, eradication and containment efforts.
Applications Pertinent to Weed Data
to find what
weed observations people have been contributing recently, on a map with photos.
Plant Observation Entry
to enter observations one at a time.
to make onsite observations with your phone, Android or iPhone.
to transform photos of plants into observation reports.
If a photo is geotagged, the software will pick up
the location; otherwise, you can set the location on a map.
to review, edit and publish your observations.
to upload an entire dataset directly into the database
by copying and pasting, for instance, from a spreadsheet.
During the upload process, you assign
fields in the dataset being uploaded
to fields in the Calflora database.
For line and polygon shapefiles, the geometries are stored
on the server and associated with your uploaded records.
Carthamus lanatus, distaff thistle,
in western Marin Co.
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Crupina vulgaris, bearded creeper,
near Annadel State Park (Santa Rosa)
© 2011 Mike Perlmutter
Certain weeds in certain areas seem to be spreading faster than
Google Maps updates its aerials.
- Anononymous weed observer, 2014
It is possible to record the absence of a plant by indicating
the name of the plant,
the area where you looked for it, and
the date when you looked for it.
RECORDING ABSENCE IN A PLANT OBSERVATION
RECORDING ABSENCE IN A CHECKLIST