MIREN Trail Survey 2018

MIREN is performing a global survey of invasive plant species distributions along mountain trails. You can help by submitting observations from the focal species from along mountain trails with a GPS or your smartphone.

This page gives you the protocol for our fast trail survey. More time? Contact us for our detailed survey of trailside plant species composition.

MIREN needs you to help with data collection! If you are heading for the mountains this summer, you can be our hero. With the ‘MIREN Trail Survey’, you can join our search for globally invasive plant species along mountain trails. With the combined effort of mountain scientists worldwide, we want to track where and how fast these species are travelling into the mountains, and what defines their current limits along mountain trails in both their native and invasive range.

When?

  • The current (2nd) season of the project runs summer 2018 (Northern Hemisphere) and summer 2018-2019 (Southern Hemisphere)

What do you need?

  • A GPS or smartphone, a mountain trail and a good set of eyes, that’s all.

Which plant species to look for?

We are focussing on the following species, yet welcome observations on other non-native plant species if they are of interest in your region. We advise to focus on one or a few species only during your hike.

  • Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
  • White clover (Trifolium repens)
  • Narrowleaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata).

Where to do it?

  • Along mountain trails in every mountain region in the world. We prefer trails at high elevations (towards and above the tree line) and trails that span a certain elevational range (more than 100 meters in elevation). The species are native to Europe and introduced in many other regions. We encourage collecting observations in both their native and invasive range.

How to do it?

  • When you walk along the trail, we ask you to keep an eye out for our species and safe their location everytime you see one into your gps or your smartphone (via the app Survey123).

Detailed instructions

With a smartphone

  • Download the app Survey123 for ArcGIS.
  • Contact us at miren.trails@gmail.com to get log-in information. Log-in and search for the ‘MIREN Trails’-project.
  • At the start of your hike, click on ‘Collect’, fill in your information and mark ‘Start of trail’. You’ll be asked some questions about the trail. Save the record afterwards. WARNING: make sure your smartphone-GPS is accurate! Look at where the point is marked and – if needed – refresh. An accuracy lower than 10 m is necessary.
  • Next? Tighten your shoelaces and start walking! If you then observe a non-native plant, click ‘Collect’ again and fill in a new form. Mark the species and patch size. If the species occurs more or less continuously (individuals or patches closer than 5 m from each other), mark the first observation (start of > 5 meters patch) and keep hiking untill you don’t see the species anymore. Then mark the end (end of > 5 meters patch).
  • Mark any possible introductory points of interest (i.e. huts, ski lifts…).
  • Don’t forget to mark the end of the trail, and make sure the data gets submitted.

Note that at the top right of the form, you can preset your answers as favorites, so you can automatically fill in the form for your next observation.

With a gps

  • Contact us at miren.trails@gmail.com to express your interest and download the ‘Trail Sampling Form’ to fill out.
  • Save a Waypoint at the start of the trail. We suggest to number your waypoints (1, 2, 3, …) and write down their meaning, or use a coding that is not confusing (i.e. Start, Tr, Am, …).
  • Next? Tighten your shoelaces and start walking! If you observe a non-native plant, safe the observation as a new waypoint. If the species occurs more or less continuously (individuals or patches closer than 5 m from each other), mark the first observation (start of > 5 meters patch) and keep hiking untill you don’t see the species anymore. Then mark the end of the patch.
  • Mark any possible introductory points of interest (i.e. huts, ski lifts…). Don’t forget to mark the end of the trail.
  • If possible, track your trail with the appropriate GPS-function.
  • Send the GPS-data and filled-out ‘Trail Sampling Form’ to miren.trails@gmail.com.

Contact us via miren.trails@gmail.com if you have any remaining questions!
Check out this story for an impression of how the project goes in the field. 

What will happen with the data?
1. Data will be used for meta-analysis purposes. Every participant keeps the right to publish their data independently or in collaboration with MIREN.
2. For interested scientsts: co-authorship in the paper(s) resulting from this survey will be offered to one person per region that submits a minimum amount of data (by surveying >5 km of trail).
3. After publication of the main global paper, data will be made freely accessible, acknowledging that paper and its contributors.