Interactive 'tree map' helps landowners discover every plant
IT'S a very simple idea with very big benefits.
While co-authoring the recently released Australian Rainforest Seeds guidebook alongside Firewheel Nursery experts, environmental science graduate Michelle Chapman said she stumbled across a brilliant idea.
With rainforest restoration currently in high demand, Ms Chapman realised there was a community interest in the environment around them, leading to the creation of her new business Seed Tree Maps.
The eco-business offers tree mapping, seed collection and guidance to landholders wanting to learn more about the vegetation on their property, before presenting the information in a customised interactive digital map.
"Seed Tree came out of conversations with people who wanted to learn more about the environment around them," she said.
"There are plenty of tree identification apps and ID books out there, but it's really difficult to identify a tree because many of them look similar if you don't know what you're looking for."
Ms Chapman said herself and botanist Nan Nicholson will conduct a 'tree tour' on a client's property, mapping GPS locations of certain trees, threatened species and quality seed-producing trees while offering advice and information.
"From there I go and conduct some research and put together an interactive Google map which can be opened on any device and provides accurate information about each specific mapped tree," she said.
Ms Chapman said Seed Tree Maps has a number of benefits including offering an easy to use interactive platform to increase awareness of the plant life surrounding you, and filters out misinformation by using local experts.
She said one of the key aspects of Seed Tree Maps is it encourages community-based forest restoration by providing landholders with information on how to collect seeds and grow your own new trees.
"There's a real demand for rainforest trees and that demand is actually outstripping supply at the moment," she said.
"By digitally mapping out which trees are on your property, you can get an idea of some really nice seed trees which you can then use to germinate."
Ms Chapman said she believes the business is the first of its kind in the Northern Rivers, and possibly even the country.
"Government agencies use a similar kind of plant mapping, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time it's being used in a commercial way for public use," she said.