SeasonWatch in 2018

A big thanks to all our supporters!
With your valuable contributions, we are beginning to understand seasonal patterns in common Indian trees. Here are some highlights from 2018.


A warm welcome to 400 new participants joining us in 2018! A concerted effort by our new as well as our seasoned participants, helped us record a jump in the number of trees that were observed and the number of observations, compared to the previous years (see figure below).

We have over 2,44,000 observations from nearly 25,000 trees in our database. Majority (nearly 95%) of these observations come from regularly observed trees. The remaining are casual observations.

We extended the ways of seasonwatching trees by adding a casual observation method in the last quarter of 2018. Using casual observation method, our participants can record one-time observations on trees. Participants wanting to observe a tree regularly and repeatedly, choose regular observation method. Casual observations are a good way to quickly asses the state of a large number of trees during a short window of time. Regular observations of the same trees provide valuable information on seasonality patterns between places and from one year to next. We use data from regular observations to look at trends in participation from 2015 onwards. See figure below for details.

Our main participants are schools, and they remained strong, contributing nearly 47,000 observations from 3,200 trees. Individual participants contributed over 6,100 from 640 trees. Together, our school and individual participants observed 101 species in the country.
(Clockwise, from top left) From 2015 to 2018: number of users (category school and individual) that contributed at least one observation, number of observations, number of trees with at least one observation, and number of species having at least one registered tree and one observation.
Trees in 2018

In 2018, over 20,000 trees were observed across the country. Of these, around 16,000 were observed once (casual observations) and the remaining were observed regularly through the year. See the maps below to know where these trees were. Do notice Kerala's overwhelming participation through regular as well as casual observations.

Regular observation

>3200 trees observed by schools

>640 trees observed by individuals

Casual observation

>16,200 trees observed in the country

>11,300 trees observed in Kerala alone
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Mango (Mangifera indica), and Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) were the top most commonly observed tree species in the country. Together, the three species gathered up nearly 21,000 regular observations (around 40% of total). See table below for ten most commonly observed species and the number of trees observed for each.
Tree species

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
Mango (Mangifera indica)
Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)
Amla (Phyllanthus emblica)
Teak (Tectona grandis)
Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera)
Jamun (Syzygium cumini)
Indian Laburnum (Cassia fistula)
Neem (Azadirachta indica)
Purple Bauhinia (Bauhinia purpurea)
Number of trees


Tree phenology

We can use the phenology data to look at fruiting, flowering, leafing patterns in a single species or compare these events between different species.
Mango trees are observed across several states in India. Mango is a seasonal fruit, and the data collected by our participants shows that fruiting peaks in early summer. Flowering happens early in the year with a single peak, closely followed by fruiting. The trees remain evergreen, as over half of the trees seem to be producing fresh leaves at any time.

Top to bottom: proportion of trees flowering (open flowers), fruiting (ripe fruits), and leafing (fresh leaves) from 2015 to 2018. Each year is divided into number of weeks, and the proportion of trees in a phenophase per week are plotted. Bulk of the data comes from Kerala, our largest contributor.
In addition to Mango, Jackfruit and Tamarind trees have also been observed consistently since 2015. Since, all these species are loved for their fruits, let's look at their fruiting periods in the figure below. Tamarind trees fruit in winter, and most trees were already fruiting at the beginning of the year. This is followed by fruiting in Jackfruit and Mango trees, both of which fruit during summer. Ripe fruits of mango are available during fewer weeks, compared to the other two species  (notice the narrow peak in fruiting).
Top to bottom: proportion of trees having ripe fruits for Jackfruit, Mango, and Tamarind, from 2015 to 2018. Each year is divided into number of weeks, and the proportion of trees with ripe fruits per week are plotted. Bulk of the data comes from Kerala, our largest contributor.

This kind of data can help us record flowering, fruiting, and leafing cycles in different species. Also, multiple year data gathered from several individuals of a species can help detect changes occurring between places and over time in the above events.

Top contributing states

Kerala is the top contributing state with 46,000 observations, besting its own record of 12,500 observations in 2017. Andhra Pradesh joined us in 2018 and quickly became the second place holder with 1400 observation. Meghalaya came a close third with 1100 observations. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu followed with over 1500 observations combined.

Top contributors, country-wise
Individual participants (and observations)

K S Lyla (2032)
FES-AP (Group account, 1070)
P S Baiju (405)
Suhel Quader (301)
Geetha Ramaswami (214)

School participants (and observations)
St Helen's Government High School, Lourdepuram (12744)
HDP Samajam English Medium School, Edathirinji (5643)
Government VHSS, Alamcode (4454)
Government VHSS, Veeranakavu (1774)
Government UPS, Edavilakom (1726)
Top contributors, state-wise
St Helen's GHS, Lourdepuram
HDP SEM, Edathirinji
K S Lyla

Andhra Pradesh
Rishi Valley School
ZP HS Sodiganipalli

Pariong Presbytery HSS, West Khasi Hills
St Ursula Secondary School, East Khasi Hills
Anderson HSS, Nongstoin

Suhel Quader
Geetha Ramaswami
Abhisheka Krishnagopal

Tamil Nadu
GHSS, Arasur
GHSS, Cinchona
Isha Home School, Coimbatore
Some other highlights

A Teacher's Meet was organized in Bangalore in October. Highly motivated teachers from southern states in the country participated in this two day event. Activities during the event strengthened our commitment to watching trees.

Casual observation method, a new and easier way to SeasonWatch, was introduced in November. This came together with an update of our android app. Now, users can register, add trees, and observations on the fly.

Winter Tree Quest, first country-wide biolblitz event was organized on 1-2 December 2018. Over 14,000 trees were observed during the two day event. See full report here.
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