Adding disturbances as an observation type

So I was debating making this a feature request, but I figured I’d get other peoples’ thoughts on it first. I was thinking it could be cool to be able to identify and map different disturbance types. Some examples of what I mean by that are:
-IDing where a riverbank was breached in a spring flood
-where a logjam has formed on a river
-where windthrow has opened up a large canopy gap
-where an understory fire has come through
-where an abandoned beaver dam has breached

It’s a bit of a different vibe from normal observations and is more of a natural community lens than a species level one, but I think it could provide a type of information that is really useful, but less readily accessible. What do others think?

iNat doesn’t have any plans to branch to recording other types of phenomena. See

You could make your own app/platform for this, or use a platform like Anecdata if you want.

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I think rather than making a new observation type, which would be difficult, you could do a lot with observation fields and projects. You could make an observation field called “disturbance type” or whatever and then observations could be categorized with that. You could then sort those out into projects if you wanted to, like a project for organisms found in newly burned areas.

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good suggestion, thanks! Just made an observation field called Ecological Disturbance. May need to modify or add the options, but it’s a start

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iNat observations record encounters with organisms. Please don’t record fires, logjams, and the like.


You should record observations of organisms affected by or nearby these disturbances and then put those observations into projects or observation fields. For example, a tree near where the understory fire happened, or a clam stuck in the river logjam. You could also record the type of trees in the logjam, or the species of beaver that built a dam

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I’m not, I’m talking about contextual info about where the recorded encounter with a given organism occurred. For example, if I record an encounter with Pilea pumila and it was in a canopy gap from windthrow, I’d select “Canopy Gap - Windthrow” under the Ecological Disturbance observation field for that particular Pilea pumila observation.


That sounds cool, thanks!

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A list of disturbance types would be incredibly long.