Automatically apply introduced status to descendant taxa in a place

Platform(s), such as mobile, website, API, other: All

URLs (aka web addresses) of any pages, if relevant: Based on this: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/apply-introduced-status-to-an-entire-section-for-a-place/48249/6

Description of need:
In some situations, all species of a higher-level taxon are endemic to a certain place but introduced throughout the rest of the world. For example, Euphorbia sect. Goniostema is endemic to Madagascar but introduced everywhere else. Given that not all cultivated species are represented for a place on iNaturalist, it would be simpler to just say that sect. Goniostema is introduced to a continent and for that introduced status to apply to all species within that section. That way, if new species of sect. Goniostema are added to the place in the future, the introduced status will be automatically applied to them.

Currently, adding introduced status to sect. Goniostema will not alter the establishment means of E. milii (a descendent taxon):


This also has the consequence of not applying introduced status to subspecific taxa within a species:


Feature request details:
When the establishment means is changed for a taxon in a place on the checklist page, the following happens: the establishment means is automatically adopted by the descendant taxa unless the descendent taxon has it’s own occurrence status (i.e., unless it says native). I could see this functioning in two different ways:

  1. There is the option to actively apply the occurrence status to all descendent taxa (similar to how it works if you click “Apply this to all included/subordinate places”).
  2. The change in the parent doesn’t change the occurrence status of descendent taxa directly but does functionally change them in terms of display and search functionality (similar to how all observations within a place are assigned introduced status regardless of whether all places to which the observation belongs are marked as introduced or not).

Both would offer the most flexibility, but either one independently would work. If I had to choose one, I slightly prefer the second option.

I understand the impetus for this and how it could make some changes much easier. That said, I can think of two potential issues (which might not actually be issues, feel free to say how they aren’t!).

  1. If someone were to do this accidentally/incorrectly with a large taxonomic group, it could change a lot of statuses all at once. Would there be any way to easily roll back/correct an error like this? If not, just a few incorrect uses of the feature could lead to lots of curator time to fix. It might also not be readily apparent that an error had occurred.

  2. The proposed “stickiness” of the feature for taxonomic groups (ie, applying to any descendant taxa added in the future) could lead to issues if there are larger taxonomic changes in the future (genera merged/changed/split, etc.). In these cases, genera or families or whatever might no longer be endemic to a specific region. If those statuses were applied to any new taxa moved to the group, this could be in error which could cause a lot of incorrect statuses to be set. The chance of this happening could be reduced if curators had to check for these “sticky” statuses before committing changes, but with the current system that info wouldn’t be immediately clear when making taxonomic changes. It would take time for curators to adjust to looking for these, and I would guess that without changes in the current system for committing changes, a lot of folks would forget to check before committing.

A related issue would be - what to do with the status of a group member that is moved out of the taxon with the sticky status. For instance, if genus A has a status that is applied to species A1, but then species A1 is move to genus B, does species A1 maintain its original status? Does it have its status wiped because it is moved out of genus A? What if genus B has a different sticky status? Would it overrule the status species A1 inherited from genus A?

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Is the main issue that observations don’t have the proper icon/label? I think it might work better to just display the establishment means as if it inherited it like conservation statuses. That should fix both the above-mentioned problems. Messing with checklists sounds complicated…but then again, establishment means are associated with checklists. So maybe I’m saying we should make establishment means associated with taxa like conservation statuses.