Tree Project Counts on Citizen Scientists
About 360 volunteers from the community were recruited and trained to help Forest Global Earth Observatory, an international initiative of scientists, to collect long-term data on tree growth and proliferation. Dr Billy Hau Chihang of the School of Biological Sciences led Hong Kong’s contributions and was awarded a Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award 2017 from the Faculty of Science.
The volunteers were trained by Dr Hau and his team and counted and identified 81,000 trees of 173 tree species in a 20-hectre plot at Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve. They were recruited during forest education programmes organised for more than 2,000 green group leaders, journalists, corporate staff of HSBC, university students, secondary school teachers and students, and the general public.
The data collection takes place every five years. The Hong Kong survey was completed in 2015 and the plot has now become a permanent site for education, training and long-term forest biodiversity monitoring, with support from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.