Danes helping capture the scope of Danish biodiversity

Science project has attracted thousands of nature lovers

Squirrel is one of the 30 species selected for the project (photo: iStock)
July 22nd, 2016 12:35 pm| by Lucie Rychla
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The Danes are not using their smartphones only to catch virtual Pokemon creatures, but also to help Danish scientists capture the scope of biodiversity in the country.

Since May last year, thousands of Danes have participated in the national project ‘Biodiversitet Nu’ (biodiversity now) and registered the occurrence of wild animals, plants, mushrooms and habitats via the NaturTjek app.

“The number of registrations has surprised us,” Simon Kroes, a project manager at Biodiversitet Nu, told DR.

“We hoped the Danes would help us, but we certainly did not expect that in July 2016 we would be sitting here with 240,000 registrations.”

Just three months after the project was launched, biodiversitet.nu received 80,000 registrations.

“This is unheard of in the context of citizen participation projects and we have received a lot of attention from abroad,” noted Kroes.

READ MORE: Danish biodiversity in decline

The researchers in the project have selected 30 recognisable animals, plants, mushrooms and 12 habitats that can be easily and quickly registered via the NaturTjek app, when people spot them in the nature.

During the first year of the project, 46 Danish municipalities reached the goal of at least 1500 registrations and 11 municipalities managed to cross the milestone already within the first three months.

The project will run until 2020, when researchers from Copenhagen and Aarhus Universities will process all gathered information to get an overview of the animals and plants in Denmark.