The Dead Tree Detective is a citizen science effort to track tree death in Australia.
Along with colleagues in other countries, we have become concerned about the potential for climatic changes to cause large-scale tree death, with large impacts on ecosystems. In our research, we have been trying to predict where and when different tree species will be at risk. However, it is difficult to test our predictions, because tree death is not recorded as a matter of course in Australia. We could find almost no records of tree death during the Millennium Drought, and were left wondering: did nothing die, or were there simply no records?
To understand the risks that climate change poses to our forests, it is essential that we start monitoring what trees die when. That’s why we set up the Dead Tree Detective. In fact, most of the time, when trees die, it is ordinary people who notice first that something is amiss: farmers, landholders, bush regenerators, people out for a walk with their dog. Through the DTD, these people have a simple way to report what they see – and find out if is new and concerning, or something that’s known about or normal.
Follow the Dead Tree Detective blog here