Use Your iPhone to Save Redwoods

By Matt Baume
|  Friday, Apr 29, 2011  |  Updated 11:31 AM PDT
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Use Your iPhone to Save Redwoods

Miguel Vieira

The Nature Conservancy is doing what it can to help struggling state parks like Humboldt Redwoods on the north coast.

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All the tools you need to save California's redwoods are right in your pocket.

A new program from the Save the Redwoods League asks hikers, tourists, and nature-lovers to submit pictures of redwood trees to scientists in order to create a giant visual database of the sequoia population.

The goal is to track the trees' changes over time so that we can better understand how climate change affects them. Redwoods are particularly vulnerable to warming, since they rely on humid air to survive. There has been a significant decrease in fog over the last few decades, according to the CC Times.

If you'd like to participate, just take a picture of a redwood tree, note the date and location, and upload it to the iNaturalist website. You can even download an iPhone app that automates the whole process for you. All you have to do is point, click, and then bask in the satisfaction of having done a little science.

The iNaturalist site also accepts other plants and animals, so don't feel as though you need to stop at redwoods.

So far, they've taken in over 14,000 observations. That's invaluable data for biologists who would otherwise had to have traipsed into the field with grad students to collect reams of information. Previous data collections only showed satellite images of the tops of trees.

The data could eventually be used to determine where conservation efforts should be focused.

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