Initiative with Irish government encourages public to support environmental management
People living in the island of Ireland are being encouraged to report on the health of trees with a new smartphone app developed by the Northern Ireland Executive and the government of the Republic.
Named TreeCheck, it was unveiled this week by Michelle O'Neill, agriculture minister in the North, and Tom Hayes, minister of state in the republic, as part of an effort to safeguard the health of forests and trees.
The app enables users to report details and send a photo of suspect diseased trees or evidence of insect damage to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in the North or the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) in the Republic. A GPS enabled smartphone can also capture the location to make it easier for plant health officials to follow up with an inspection.
The two administrations said the app will help in the early detection pests and diseases. There have been outbreaks of disease affecting ash and larch trees in the recent past.
O'Neill said: "This development will enhance the ability of tree and forest owners and the public to accurately report suspect tree diseases and pests, and enable more effective follow up by departmental Inspectors."
A spokesman for DARD told UKAuthority it is the first time the departments have joined together to develop an app, which has also been done in cooperation with the Forestry Commission, and the first environmental reporting app aimed at the general public.
It is available at https://www.treecheck.net.
Pictured: Tom Hayes and Michelle O'Neill show off the Treecheck app. Image from DARD.