Hello Everyone,

I would like to share with you a fantastic open-access project that I am a part of for your potential use and/or contribution. The lab of Dr. Daniel Laughlin at the University of Wyoming has created an online map of vegetation using community-sourced photos. 

The mission of the Global Vegetation Project is to inspire and empower people of all ages to learn about the diversity of vegetation on our planet and to provide educators with a resource for teaching online. We aim to bring the field into the classroom in a way that was previously impossible, enabling visual and interactive experiences that link vegetation and climate at a global scale.

The long-term vision is to curate a database of vegetation photographs that can be explored interactively through an online interface. Anyone with an internet connection will be able to challenge themselves to tackle a variety of learning outcomes such as 1) determining differences and similarities between vegetation types across the globe, 2) understanding how climate shapes vegetation, and 3) hypothesizing how climate change might affect the distribution of vegetation types in the future. This project was inspired both by the increased need for online field ecology teaching resources as well as the lack of a single e-repository with information on the diversity of vegetation types across the globe. The project is similar to iNaturalist but with a focus on communities of plants (i.e., vegetation) rather than individual species. With the help of user-submitted photos, location information, and vegetation information, the Global Vegetation Project will create an interactive map where “travelers” can virtually navigate to points to explore vegetation types. Travelers can explore using a global map or by using a Whittaker biome diagram which illustrates how vegetation types relate to temperature and precipitation. Alternatively, vegetation can be viewed by filtering for ranges of temperature, precipitation, or biomes. 

We have just released V0.2 with new climate and elevation filters which aid educators and increase opportunities for lesson plan development. We are also actively working on educator resources that will guide the use of the application for teaching ecological concepts.

The Global Vegetation Project is in development and you can help make it a success! Please submit your photos and information to be included in the interactive map. Visit our landing page to watch a short video about the project. The Photo Submission tab will allow you to contribute photos and the Explore Vegetation tab will take you to the interactive map. http://gveg.wyobiodiversity.or...

Cheers,

Sienna Wessel
Communications Manager, Global Vegetation Project
2020 Plantae Fellow