Flora of Russia on iNaturalist: moving forward

ID: 613 / 215

Category: Abstract

Track: Pending

Proposed Symposium Title: Flora of Russia on iNaturalist: moving forward


Alexey P. Seregin, Dmitriy A. Bochkov, Julia V. Shner, Sergey R. Mayorov, Natalia S. Gamova, Sergey A. Lednev

Affiliations: Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia


Since 2008, iNaturalist has been crowdsourcing biodiversity observations made by citizen scientists and professional biologists. Thousands of publications have already taken into account these data for use in research, conservation and policy. There are three key themes that iNaturalist embraces: social interaction; shareability of data, tools and code; and scalability of the platform and community. The "Flora of Russia" project on iNaturalist (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/flora-of-russia) brought together professional scientists and amateur naturalists from all over the country since 9 Jan 2019. The main goal of the project is to maintain crowdsourced data for the national atlas of vascular plants in the absence of an appropriate national platform. By 2023, over 25K+ people were involved in the data collection. Within 5 years, the participants accumulated 3M+ photo observations of 8K+ species of the Russian vascular plants. This constitutes the largest dataset of open spatial data on the country’s biodiversity and a leading source of data on the current state of the national flora. The key index of the project is the number of uploaded observations. The project reached 2.5M observations of "Research Grade" quality on 7 May 2023, whereas ca. 0.5M unverified observations make the project's backlog. The Moscow Oblast and the City of Moscow take the lead by the number of observations and observers, whereas Dagestan harbours the highest number of observed species. The Moscow University team of professional botanists leads the expert efforts within the project. About 90% of all project data, are available under free licences (CC0, CC-BY, CC-BY-NC) and can be freely used in scientific, educational and environmental activities. Due to the project, Russia is currently one of top-five countries of the platform by the number of observations and the leading country on iNaturalist by share of records available in GBIF.

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Key words: citizen science, flora, iNaturalist, Russia, vascular plants