iNaturalist and community stewarship groups

Hello all,

I am interested in learning how community stewardship groups could benefit from iNaturalist. Here in Toronto, most of the groups I know focus on planting native species, removing invasive, and monitoring plants and animals.

iNaturalist is certainly a good way to have an overview of certain species (invasive, threatened and so on) that occur in a given area, which can be done with a project. Furthermore, it can also be an excellent tool for outreach, e.g. by making the people aware of the biodiversity that can exist in urban parks.

Are there any other applications of iNaturalist for community stewardship?

On the topic of invasive plants specifically, I have read on the forums that iNaturalist is one way to detect “new” invasive species early and either report or remove them before they can spread. But are there other uses to these invasive plant observations? For mapping perhaps?

Thank you.


I run the Community Science Program for the One Tam collaborative and we use iNaturalist a ton. Our scientific priorities are largely set by a 2016 report called Measuring the Health of the Mountain: A report on Mount Tamalpais natural resources. The report identifies several information gaps that we explore using iNaturalist. Community Science also incorporates the needs and interests of the community and that’s something that also drives our programatic decisions. A big part of my job is building iNaturalist capacity in this small region and to that end we run ~5 bioblitzes per year. Bioblitzes can have different emphases; some are more focused on education, others more data-driven. In the past, members of the collaborative (with Cal Academy!) have used iNaturalist in conjunction with other methods to re-survey the Mt. Tam’s flora In 2018, we began to organize mycoblitzes to start building better fungal species lists for different localities and habitat types in the region. We will contribute this work to the soon-to-be-renamed North American Mycoflora Project. I am actively working on building new monitoring schemes using iNaturalist as a tool and in the next iteration of the Peak Health we will outline a more defined role for iNaturalist data in understanding the ecological indicators of interest.

Curious to know why you’re curious and happy to chat more.


I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto and on an internship with the university’s Forestry Department. Through the same professor who is currently my supervisor, I have also been able to work with a stewardship group called Toronto Ravine Revitalization Science. One project that I have been participating in aims at informing private landowners and community groups that wish to steward the city’s network of forested ravines (40% of which is private land). I am currently focusing on useful applications, such as iNaturalist.

Thank you for your response. I gather that the bioblitzes you run (with iNaturalist I assume) are a good way to create species lists while educating the public and supporting official registers. Experts and more knowledgeable volunteers can then intervene for the rare species that go unnoticed.

May I ask about the new monitoring schemes you are thinking about? Also, one issue that I have seen being raised about iNaturalist is that there is no absence data. How important is the location of the observations collected during your biobliztes? Do you think it is hindered by the lack of absence data?


Welcome to the forum!

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.