Citizen science is emerging as a new source of data that could potentially be used in environmental monitoring and reporting. This project looked at the Garden Bird Survey as an example of a citizen science dataset. The Garden Bird Survey dataset is large, but has problems with spatial representation – survey participants are not evenly or systematically spread across New Zealand. This Ministry for the Environment funded project tested various statistical models of accounting for these spatial biases and investigated the ability of the data to reveal trends in bird abundances in our gardens, and found some to improve the power of the data to reveal trends.
The Ministry will continue to investigate how citizen science data could inform environmental monitoring and reporting.