Plant health and citizen science: ANSES takes part in an operation to detect giant ragweed

ANSES is taking part in a citizen observation mission targeting the giant ragweed plant (Ambrosia trifida) in partnership with the Tela Botanica Association and the Ragweed Observatory.

Ambrosia trifidais an invasive alien species posing a threat to health and agriculture, because it releases pollen that is highly allergenic to humans and colonises crops leading to yield losses.

ANSES recently published a risk analysis report on this emerging plant and recommended a series of preventive measures to avert its spread in France and the European Union. In this context, the Agency has joined forces with a citizen science initiative to help identify the locations where the plant is established using data collected by members of the public.

This operation, led by Tela Botanica, consists in mobilising the public to obtain field data by offering a tool for collecting observations and sharing them online. This tool explains in simple terms how to identify the plant in situ and can then transmit the information collected in the field. The data will be integrated into the Nature and Landscape Information System (SINP) and will provide input for the database of ragweed reports. 

ANSES's Plant Health Laboratory is contributing by analysing these data in order to better understand the factors favouring the spread of these invasive species, with the aim of improving early detection.

As a key player in epidemiological surveillance, together with INRA, ANSES promotes innovative and participatory initiatives to strengthen the acquisition of field data and better anticipate emerging risks.

Photo copyright : Bruno Chauvel - INRA