Improve community curation tools for Introduced/Native status

Expanding on needs identified previously on this forum and the google group:

The Status tab on the Taxon pages currently appears to be the best available portal to curate Establishment Means (Introduced/Native/Endemic) for multiple places. But it needs more functionality.

Currently it displays only the first 100 places with Establishment Means set for that taxon, starting with Countries, then the next lower Administrative level, then the next level, alphabetic within each. Non-standard places work into that sequence somewhere too…

Species that are widely introduced outside of their native ranges tend to be in many more than 100 place checklists, and are likely to be flagged more because of this and the greater potential for incorrect establishment means settings. But right now we can’t see more than those first 100 on the status tab.

A couple of plant examples:

BASIC suggestions:

  1. Add basic filtering options to this section of the tab, or in a linked window. (Maybe do this for the Conservation Status section too, if needed). Allow filtering by:

a. establishment means (unknown/native/endemic/introduced/any/none). None = not in list for a place and/or its descendants if selected – see below. “None” would have no effect unless a place type and/or place is also selected.

b. place type (standard-administrative / standard-other / community-ad-hoc) - or whatever the right categories are…

c. specific place.

d. checkbox options to show/hide 1st/2nd/3rd level descendant places in b and/or c above.

e. display nnn filter results per page, and provide for paging through longer results. Maintain the current links to Source List and Details (listed taxon) in the results display.

Since it is curated in the same location, also consider filtering by

f. Occurrence Status (unknown/present/common/uncommon/irregular/doubtful/absent/any/none)

PIE IN THE SKY suggestions (for curators, at least):

  1. Allow direct editing of establishment means and occurrence status from the filter results, without having to visit each individual place-checklist entry. Include appropriate curator-only controls, and a box to enter comments (which would still be stored with the checklist entry).

  2. Allow batch editing of establishment means and occurrence status from the list of filter results.

  3. With these improvements in place, consider restricting all access to editing establishment means and occurrence status to curators only, to encourage more circumspection and discussion when making changes to these values, since they are high-visibility on other pages in iNaturalist.

What else would help…? Or am I missing better existing curation options?

editing directly from the taxon maps, for the built-in areas at least (states and counties in the US for instance) could be another nice way to do it. Like, if you could right click a county and change it.


Yes, for sure! Will have to leave it to the Dream Crusher to assess technical feasibility though…


i’m not a curator, but my understanding is that establishment means can be changed without curator status. i’ve run into this problem with Liquidambar stryaciflua (sweetgum). currently it’s showing as introduced in the Houston, TX, area, and i’m pretty sure it’s native here and through most of E TX. i was going to flag it for curation, but there was an existing flag already dealing with this, and i was advised to change it for areas for which i have local knowledge.

so i went in and changed some counties in E TX to native using the taxon establishment means page, which i figured would override the Texas-level introduced status. but it did not. it looks like there are several other overlapping non-county places (which i cannot seen in the taxon establishment means page due to the top 100 limit) that also have establishment means set. so i started to go into each place to remove the establishment means, figuring county-level is all that is needed. but i’m finding there are so many places that have this set. i removed Greater Houston Area establishment means, and Southeast Texas, and maybe a few others. but when i was seeing stuff still showing as introduced because of Hurricane Harvey Flood Zone and Herman Brown Park, i figured i should stop before i get in too deep and waste too much time, and see if there’s just a better way to do this.

to the original suggestion, i would add that it might be helpful to see parents as well as descendants as part of 1d. but really, if i could just see all the places on the taxon page, with place type, and sortable headers (so that i could sort by place type, then name) then that would be enough for me to do what i’d like to do without too much pain.


Thanks for another example ( of where better functionality would be helpful! I tried a fix and left a comment in the taxon flag ( for those who want to follow this example further).


I would like to add my support to this request thread. I see a lot of taxon flags complaining about establishment means and I try to explain to the user how to make their own updates but the process is clearly not user friendly.

I know a lot of the above requests would require a lot of programming but even adding instructions for how to set establishment and status and displaying a link in the Status tab would help.


A post was split to a new topic: Authorities and guidelines for determining establishment means on iNaturalist

FYI - added a related Feature Request here:

Housekeeping note: similar requests here:

since there hasn’t been much movement on this, i went ahead and made a page to help display establishment means beyond 100 records. right now it’s very basic, but i may work on incorporating some of the ideas here elsewhere later.


Thank you for working on this! Added some comments in the other thread.


I think having an ‘extirpated’ status would be worthwhile. I would also like to be able to delete a species from a place checklist even if the species has been observed in that place (ex. removing Budgerigar from New York checklist, ect.).


Another request related to this - it seems a lot of places that have the statuses of organisms exported from other sites (ex. California checklist) have a lot of Endemic species marked as Native with no way to correct this.

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Responding to both your above comments in one place.

There are already 2 different ways to mark a species as gone from a location on its checklist. You can set its occurrence status as absent or its establishment means as extinct. Yes I know there is a technical difference between extinct and extirpated, but it is splitting hairs and the existing one should be fine.

Why would you want to delete a species which has been observed in a place from the checklist? Regardless of how or why it is there, it has been seen there.

I’m not sure if it is a curator vs non curator thing, but I am unaware of any checklists where the establishment status can not be edited.

I guess it’s a preference thing, but I would prefer that place checklists include only normally occurring species, not vagrants or escapees.

On several state checklists (California is an example) I am unable to edit the establishment means of certain taxa. Perhaps because I’m not a curator?

I think this may be because California uses a tiered set of taxon checklists. If you go to and scroll down, at the bottom of the right-hand pane you will see “Other Check Lists for California.” Expand that and find the checklist of interest to edit.

I have edited one of those tiered checklists before, but like @cmcheatle notes, it could be a curator thing, I’m not sure.

I think that’s the kind of thing that could do with some community discussion and consensus before making changes based on one person’s view if something is seen too infrequently and thus removed.

That kind of info is kind of why the 2 fields of data are there for populating.