Erroneous Introduced Status Populates "Lower" Places

A few weeks ago, I noticed that a species of plant was wrongly listed as introduced in my state. So I fixed it on the state checklist.

But today when I was uploading an observation of that species, I noticed it was still listed as introduced - in fact, all my observations of that species (from all across the state) were still marked as introduced!

I just spent the last 45 minutes going through all of the lower places that my observations were in and marking the plant as native. This was a lot of work, as I found out most of my observations were within lots of places - sometimes 10-15, requiring me to remark that many place checklists for each of my observations!

I guess my question is, is there a better way to do this? If there isn’t, can this be moved to a feature request? Maybe making it so marking as native on the checklist of a parent place will update the status of all of the lower places?

It can be native to higher place, but introduced to lower places, so I think even if it’ll be optional, it can be abused, maybe making so when you click on (!) icon you could see a list of all places where it’s marked as introduced?

And links to the place checklists from that screen would be great!

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here are a couple of related discussions:

besides what’s mentioned in the above discussions, i bet that in a lot of cases when places are created by the community nowadays, those places don’t really need checklists, but few people ever uncheck the “allow checklists?” box when they create their places. so you get a ton of community places that get establishment means records when they are cascaded from a parent place. i bet this could be reduced by defaulting “allow checklists?” to unchecked, or limiting making the cascade configurable to descendant standard places only (default) or all descendant places.

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If you go to the taxon page for the species and look down the Status tab, you will see all of the places where establishment means is currently set for the species, with links to both the checklist page, and to the specific “listed taxon” page (the Details column) where the establishment means is set for that place.

If someone has accidentally cascaded Introduced status from a parent place to all its child places, when it is actually native in some or all of those child places, I recommend the following, which can be done from same Status tab on the taxon page:

  1. First, set the status in the highest parent place(s) (continents or countries) where there are any native occurrences back to Native (or Endemic if the species hasn’t yet been naturalized outside that place). But don’t cascade the Native status to all lower places (only Curators have this option) unless you are certain that all occurrences in all child places are Native.

  2. Then go to the next highest level of child place(s) (countries or states) on the Status Tab where there are any native occurrences, and change their status to Native. As in step 1 above, only cascade to lower places (states or counties etc.) if the species is native in all such places. (If you do use cascading, refresh the taxon page and status tab before continuing.)

  3. Repeat for the next lower levels of child places (counties etc. in this U.S.-centric example) until all places that contain native occurrences have been set to Native. (Hopefully some were able to be cascaded to save time and effort.)

  4. Refresh the taxon page and look at the Status tab again. If all went well, only the places where the species is entirely non-native should now show as Introduced.

  5. If the number of places with a status for the species exceeds 100 (an unfortunate limitation in iNaturalist), you will want to use @pisum’s establishment means tool instead:

replacing 49658 with the taxon ID of whichever taxon you are working on.


Using that tool, it looks like the species in question is currently listed as introduced in 699 places! It looks like most (but not all) of these listing are incorrect. I’m not a curator so I can’t do anything about it easily (I don’t want to spend hours on this).

if you flag it for curation a curator can help fix it.

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I just tested that tool on a bird species with a similar issue and it shows it not being not being listed introduced anywhere, which is incorrect. So I’m not sure that tool is currently working.

The tool should just display the establishment means data currently in the system. If someone has added wrong data (or not yet added correct data), the tool will show that too. If you flag the species for curation in iNaturalist, someone can take a look. Feel free to @ tag me in a comment in the flag if you want.

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