Evaluating the Efficacy of iNaturalist & BioBlitzes as Biological Inventory Tools for Landscape Management

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Well-informed landscape management decisions rely on accurate data of species presence which is often a resource-intensive and time-consuming effort to collect. Due to limited resources, Duke Forest Management Team has been searching for novel tools such as citizen science techniques to help gather plant and wildlife species data as a part of its holistic approach to forest management. Two potential citizen science tools, BioBlitzes and iNaturalist, have the potential to help Duke Forest quickly document species presence. This project looks at a case study to determine on average how many species iNaturalist users observed in a year and if the hosting of a BioBlitz event increased the number of species and richness observed. To evaluate these tools while under COVID-19 conditions, past BioBlitz and iNaturalist data were collected from select National Parks in 2016-2020 and used as a case study for Duke Forest. Four models were created using the number of species observed and the number of observers from the case study data. The models were then evaluated with data from City Nature Challenge: Triangle Area and to iNaturalist data collected in Duke Forest to determine the model’s effectiveness. Data trends including seasonality, number of observers, and number of species per phyla were reported alongside model outputs to Duke Forest. Results from this study concluded BioBlitzes and iNaturalist are effective biodiversity inventory tools for landscape management. Also included is a list of recommended actions for Duke Forest based on this project’s results.





Perkins, Troi (2021). Evaluating the Efficacy of iNaturalist & BioBlitzes as Biological Inventory Tools for Landscape Management. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/24061.

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