site.btaFounder of New Tree Mapping Mobile App: Centuries-Old Trees Bring Balance to Forest
It is important to preserve centuries-old trees because they are an integral part of the whole nature chain, environmentalist Atanas Rusev told BTA. Studies in Austria and Switzerland have proven that veteran trees communicate with the whole forest and balance the ecosystem, Rusev added.
He is the founder of a free mobile application for mapping of centuries-old trees in Bulgaria. The goal of the application is to help people become part of the cause of protecting veteran trees, to encourage them to take a walk into nature and find valuable specimens. For now, it is available only in Bulgarian.
Rusev compares veteran trees to grandparents who carry the experience they have gained in life. Some of the largest trees, the ones that are about 7-8 metres high, have bear claw marks on their bark - such curious sights could increase the children's interest in nature, the environmentalist said.
How to recognize a centuries-old tree
If the stem is wider than 80 cm, it is most likely century-old and this applies to most of the tree species, explained Rusev. Such trees are much larger than the others and stand out among the rest in the forest.
The users could map a tree by uploading its photo and add brief information about it. The application sets the location on its own and automatically submits the mapping request so it could be approved and marked on the platform. "We then collect additional information about the tree, visit it on site, and apply to the Environment Ministry to declare it as centuries-old."
The mobile app is also a part of Rusev's efforts in the fight against illegal logging.
He laments the "barbaric treatment of forests" and urged that they should not be seen as a money-making asset. "When there are more eyes looking at the forest, the violations may decrease and finally disappear," he said.
More than 2,000 century-old trees are included in the Environment Ministry electronic register which protects them from destruction.