Observations from areas under restoration

I gave a presentation on using iNaturalist to a chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas last night. One person in the audience asked if they should post observations from a particular restoration site.

This site is a former golf course that is now a Water retention area, green area. If you’re interested it is called Exploration Green and was on the national news just after hurricane Harvey as it saved the houses in the area from flooding. This site was planned and planted with plants native to the local area. I have posted a few observation from this site in the past, but they were all bird observations.

I also spent time at few different restoration sites and this though has come to mind several times. How do I know if a plant was planted in this location, or is it native to that particular spot. Do you mark all plant observations from a restoration area as cultivated? Personally, I think that is extreme, but where does one draw the line?

Just curious as to where and how you draw line to mark a plant as cultivated?


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Hi Scott, definitely a common question! Restoration projects are one of the many gray areas that fall inbetween “wild” and “not wild” (or captive/cultivated or not captive/cultivated) under iNaturalist’s classification.

Technically in iNaturalist’s system, the original planted/seeded plants would be not wild and their offspring would be wild. But good luck figuring that out :) so you will find that most people tend to mark all the plants in restoration areas as wild unless it appears obviously planted. Planted trees and shrubs are a bit easier to tell, but seeded species are very difficult to assess. In my area, extensive seeding/planting goes on even in remnant natural areas, so it’s often impossible to assess whether something is autochthonous to the site/sprang up on its own, or was broadcast by a restoration volunteer or other land manager.

This topic has been extensively discussed on the forum, so I’m going to close it and direct you to the FAQ answer for this popular question as well as some of those previous discussions.

If you do have further questions feel free to open up a related topic, send me a message, or even create a feature request if there’s something about the current system that you think could be improved. Thanks!

Here are a few related topics: