Bough selecta: Platform assists tree recording for citizen science

Jonathon Jones presents Tremap at Agri-TechE 2022 (image credit Agri-TechE & StillVision Photography)

“Earth observation and smartphones enable everyone to support environmental regeneration“, says firm

A Cornwall-based agri-tech start-up has created “the world’s first global tree platform“ for recording and locating trees. The app is already said to be in use by a number of botanic gardens to replace manual methods of tree surveying.

As international governments propose ambitious tree planting programmes to reverse habitat degradation, this is one key challenge that is being overlooked, says the firm.

“We don’t have a reliable way of knowing what trees we have,” said Jonathon Jones, Founder and CEO of Tremap, presenting at Agri-TechE’s REAP 2022 Start-Up Showcase.

The idea behind it is to provide a cost-effective management tool for tree collection, replacing the need to physically label trees, with such surveys being “incredibly time consuming and only conducted across small areas,” according to Jones. “The concept for Tremap worked so well that we have increased its scope. It now consists of an international database of trees with an easy-to-use app for recording and visualisation.”

Tremap combines existing tree databases with satellite imagery from earth observation to create a global map, which can be accessed and altered with a smartphone app.

“The Tremap platform makes contributing to and viewing the world’s first global database of trees engaging and enjoyable. It puts tree mapping into the hands of everyone with a smartphone app.”

Applications include collating collections in arboretums and public spaces, evaluation of tree planting programmes, measurement of tree loss, and identification of particular species for conservation programmes.

Tremap is now open to private investment, says Jones, and has already been the recipient of generous funding by the ERDF, Agritech Cornwall, Tevi and AeroSpace Cornwall. The company is collaborating with the University of Exeter in the UK and the Smithsonian Institution in the USA to further develop the mapping, and has several early adopter development partners, including The Eden Project in Cornwall.

He welcomed the opportunity to present Tremap in the REAP Start-Up Showcase: “REAP is a very good opportunity to present Tremap’s latest development achievements to the media, and indirectly to our key markets. We are very open to discussion with potential investors and funding entities from the private and public sectors.”

Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-TechE, said: “Trees are of fundamental importance to our survival, and Tremap is offering an innovative way to record and manage stocks of forestry. I am sure that it will attract significant interest from the agri-tech innovation ecosystem. REAP has provided profile for many exciting early-stage businesses with collaborators, end users and investors. 14 of the companies previously featured have collectively raised over £92 Million in the last three years.”

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