If an old tree was not planted and was part of a natural forest 50+ years ago, but now is growing in a well-handled city park together with recently planted trees, or even just on a city street, is it “wild” according to iN and qualifies for “research grade” or should be marked “captive/cultivated”? It’s not specified directly in the rules and guidelines as far as I can see and rather looks that it should be considered “wild”, as only planted trees specified to be “cultivated”.
You will likely get differing opinions. I would be inclined to say yes, wild.
If nothing is done directly to that tree, it’s wild, probably it’d be more helpful to leave this tree as wild to show there’re some wild trees remaining, though you need to be sure it was wild from the start, some (most) park trees are centuries old and were planted.
I am not sure how you would determine that the tree is so old that it predates the park, and was not deliberately planted, even way back when. However, if you could be certain that was the case, then it would count as “wild”.
If you are 100% certain the tree was not planted, then yes, it is wild.
Ok, thanks! Of course it could be disputable. But, for example, I live in a “microdistrict” of city that was built starting from 1962 (some parts in 1980s) in a pine-oak forest, which was main natural vegetation everywhere around and still can be found nearby. In a corner of this “microdistrict” there is a group of oaks and pines aged 80-150, they growing not in the rows on the territory of the city park, school, music school, kindergarten and little bit around them. So it looks very much like they were growing in a (semi-)natural forest before 1960s and probably were not planted.
Per iNat’s definition of wild for plants (origin over current status; the opposite of animals): Yes, it would be wild
The tree got itself to that location, so it’s wild, no matter what humans have done around it. You should probably put a note explaining why you’re not marking it cultivated, if the location looks cultivated, to head of well intentioned people who might mark it cultivated.
And not just people. The iNat robot might automatically vote it as not wild in the DQA based on the preponderance of data in the area, so they should be prepared to vote against that, right?
I would say it was wild in origins so it is wild for the purposes of the observation. It maybe helpful to place what you are saying as a comment for the observation and maybe add a tag field "originally wild " or something
as @marina_gorbunova says
basically so that there is an understanding about how the local area has changed.
I was about to post this very question, when this topic popped up on the side.
Sadly, the iNat help page does not provide a satisfying example for this case. I would say that the “humans intended it to be then and there” argument inclines me to consider remnant trees like this one or this one as NOT WILD. The tree is found at the place and time of the observation by a conscious human decision not to cut down this very specimen. Both trees from the examples I link are now in heavily modified areas and incorporated into cultivation, so that I’m weary of considering them wild no matter their origin.
If people don’t help this tree to survive, it’s really ok to leave it wild, but if it’s helped a lot like park trees do (old branches cut and holes closed, often metal boards on them for protection) it’s reasonable to say that without human intervention this tree would die.
But also you can just read tons of previous plant topics, with all examples and opinions, there’re many that mention trees that being left like that. Imo it’s much easier just not to observe big trees than break head deciding what to do with them later.
I wouldn’t worry too much about this argument for marking any organism as “not wild”. By this argument, all organisms in urban parks would be considered “not wild” as those lands were specifically set aside as parks at least in part to protect natural organisms. Taking that argument even farther, organisms in any land that was slated for “development”, but then conserved could be considered “not wild” as humans made an intentional decision not to kill them.
For the purposes of this tree, I think it’s appropriate to focus on the converse criterion in the help page: “Likewise, wild / naturalized organisms exist in particular times and places because they intended to do so.”
It’s not all about human intention, but also the organism’s (even though it does perhaps feel strange to think about a plant’s “intention”). But if the tree seeded itself and grew naturally, then it certainly “intended” to be in that place. As trees generally go on living until something kills them, I think it also “intends” to be there currently. As such, I don’t see any issue leaving this tree as “wild”.