MONTICELLO – The Arkansas Forest Resources Center, Forest Health Laboratory is seeking help in locating and identifying invasive plants and trees.


Associate Professor Mohammad Bataineh with the University of Arkansas at Monticello is asking outdoor enthusiasts to locate and make observations of the presence of invasive plant species.


The project needs people willing to locate and make observations regarding invasive plant species.


“If you are willing to help identify, photograph and record information about plant species, then this project is right for you,” according to a news release.


“The project will focus on mapping and monitoring the distribution expansion of invasive populations,” Bataineh said.


Invasives are those non-native species that result in ecological or economical loss or damage. Invasive species are a growing burden on Arkansas’ and the nation’s economy with a $120 billion a year in economic cost.


“Arkansans’ participation and contributions are of great value in protecting Arkansas forests and its resources,” officials say.


All observations will be verified and compiled into a shareable map. By using the iNaturalist app, participants can check on how their observations are being used.


Participants will need a smartphone with internet access to a free app. Those who are interested should download the iNaturalist free app and create an account. Once registered, they can start logging observations and associate them with project “Invasive Plants of The Natural State” at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/invasive-plants-of-the-natural-state.


Alternatively, participants can email locations and or photos of their observations to foresthealth@uamont.edu, or physically mail them to: Arkansas Forest Resources Center, 110 University Court, Monticello, AR 71656.


This work is supported in part by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire-Stennis project 1005987.


“The College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, a University of Arkansas System Center of Excellence, bring together interdisciplinary expertise through a partnership between the University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture,” according to the news release.


“The College and Center are headquartered at the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus, but their programs range statewide with the mission of developing and delivering teaching, research and extension programs that enhance and ensure the sustainability and productivity of forest-based natural resources and agricultural systems. Academic programs are delivered by the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources through the University of Arkansas at Monticello,” according to the release.


To learn about forestry in Arkansas, contact a local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit the Arkansas Forest Resources Center at http://www.afrc.uamont.edu/default.htm. Follow the Cooperative Extension Service on Twitter at @uaex_edu.


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.


Details: foresthealth@uamont.edu .


— Lon Tegels is with the U of A System Division of Agriculture.