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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Towards a new flora of Liguria: the usefulness of citizen science through the Wikiplantbase floristic surveys


The current understanding of the richness and distribution of plant species on a national scale, achieved by the recent checklists of Italian flora, is largely based on the quality and thoroughness of the data provided by regional floristic studies. This knowledge benefits from regional databases, such as the Wikiplantbase #Liguria project, which offers an online platform where thousands of geo-referenced floristic records from Liguria (north-western Italy) are stored and freely accessible. In 2019, adopting a citizen science approach, a floristic survey program consisting of 11 excursions opened to the public was implemented, with the aim of deepening the floristic knowledge of some poorly investigated areas of the region. The active collaboration between scientists and volunteers led to the collection of about 4000 floristic data corresponding to more than 800 taxa, including 13 taxa unknown or no longer recorded for Liguria. These results suggest that citizen science can be a useful tool to address the knowledge gaps of regional floras. In particular, collaboration between experts and non-professional botanists allows to collect reliable data even for hardly-to-recognize taxa, contributing to fix some gaps occurring in the Wikiplantbase #Liguria project.

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