Citizen Science and Monitoring Forest Pests: a Beneficial Alliance?

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Purpose of the Review

One of the major threats to tree health, and hence the resilience of forests and their provision of ecosystem services, is new and emerging pests. Therefore, forest health monitoring is of major importance to detect invasive, emerging and native pest outbreaks. This is usually done by foresters and forest health experts, but can also be complemented by citizen scientists. Here, we review the use of citizen science for detection and monitoring, as well as for hypothesis-driven research and evaluation of control measures as part of forest pest surveillance and research. We then examine its limitations and opportunities and make recommendations on the use of citizen science for forest pest monitoring.

Recent Findings

The main opportunities of citizen scientists for forest health are early warning, early detection of new pests, monitoring of impact of outbreaks and scientific research. Each domain has its own limitations, opportunities and recommendations to follow, as well as their own public engagement strategies. The development of new technologies provides many opportunities to involve citizen scientists in forest pest monitoring. To enhance the benefits of citizen scientists’ inclusion in monitoring, it is important that they are involved in the cocreation of activities.


Future monitoring and research may benefit from tailor-made citizen science projects to facilitate successful monitoring by citizen scientists and expand their practice to countries where the forest health sector is less developed. In this sense, citizen scientists can help understand and detect outbreaks of new pests and avoid problems in the future.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Forestry Reports
Pages (from-to)15-32
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 25-Nov-2022


  • Awareness raising
  • Community science
  • Forest health
  • Forest management
  • Forest protection


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