Public Urged To Help Identify Drought-stricken Trees

Researchers at The University of Western Australia have issued an urgent call for public help in assessing the damage to local vegetation caused by the State’s record-shattering summer of heat.

UWA’s Centre for Water and Spatial Science (CWSS) is measuring the impact of the extreme conditions on Perth’s trees to learn about their vulnerability, resilience and what can help our trees survive the tough conditions of changing climate.

Project leader Associate Professor Sally Thompson said the initiative involved combining remote sensing data with eyes on the ground, which is where Perth’s citizens are being called on to assist.

“Vegetation in Western Australia is suffering, with mass plant death that some have likened to coral bleaching events,” Associate Professor Thompson said.

“We’re inviting residents in the Perth metro area to visit their local bushland, park or streets to record both the healthy and less healthy trees they see via an online web-based app.

“Establishing the approximate percentage of tree canopy that is healthy, bare or has dead leaves, as well as the tree’s location, will help us identify tree health to use with other spatial data to form a picture of what is happening.”

Associate Professor Thompson said participation was voluntary, and users could choose whether or not they wanted to be updated on the study’s results.

“Future work is being planned which will include in-depth field studies to measure specific tree and canopy health metrics,” she said.

To participate visit the app, for more information or to suggest a suitable in-depth study site, contact project leader Associate Professor Sally Thompson at CWSS.

/University Release. View in full here.