153 research outputs found

    Can we trust iNaturalist in lichenology? Evaluating the effectiveness and reliability of artificial intelligence in lichen identification

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    iNaturalist is a widely-utilized platform for data collection and sharing among non-professional volunteers and is widely employed in citizen science. This platform’s data are also used in scientific studies for a wide range of purposes, including tracking changes in species distribution, monitoring the spread of alien-invasive species, and assessing the impacts of urbanization and land-use change on biodiversity. Lichens, due to their year-round presence on trees, soil and rocks, and their diverse shapes and colours, have captured the attention of iNaturalist users, and lichen records are widely represented on the platform. However, due to the complexity of lichen identification, the use of data collected by untrained, or poorly trained volunteers in scientific investigation poses concerns among lichenologists. To address these concerns, this study assessed the reliability of lichen identification by iNaturalist users by comparing records on the platform with identifications carried out by experts (experienced lichenologists) in three cities where citizen science projects were developed. Results of this study caution against the use of unchecked data obtained from the platform in lichenology, demonstrating substantial inconsistency between results gathered by iNaturalist users and experts

    Are cover crops affecting the quality and sustainability of fruit production ?

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    The study of the interaction between fruit trees and cover crops has been addressed in numerous works over the last 50 years or more, evidencing the need to evolve from a productive orchard to an orchard that plays different ecosystem roles in terms of environmental sustainability rather than just productivity. This review, through an analysis of the scientific literature since the 1950s, highlights the development of sustainable soil management models in fruit tree orchards, mostly considering the relationship with fruit quality traits and with the ecosystem services that result from the adoption of cover crops, aiming at identifying and formulating technical recommendations in perennial orchards. Cover crop management surely improves soil features and positively influences fruit quality in perennial woody species, but also helps to develop a better habitat for beneficial insects, thus influencing pollination. A large number of scientific approaches highlight the beneficial use of a mixture of seeds in order to enhance biodiversity, aiming at improving ecosystem services for a transition towards more sustainable systems based on agroecological management
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