This App was developed specifically for the multiple purposes associated with encouraging recreational tree enthusiasts to increase their skills and awareness, as well as supporting practitioners and students in any field that needs knowledge of indigenous or invasive trees, in South Africa.
The 2 core concept founders, Val Thomas and Dr Robbie Robinson, who both had ‘tree fever’, complimented one another in their experiences and training around botany, trees specifically, education and marketing science. As a combined resource their efforts represent over 70 years of dedication to their fields. The beauty of that partnership was that both classical botany and the-man-in-the woods tree discovery elements were combined. And the result is TheTreeApp, finally emerging after 5 years of committed research, great tree memories, endless application, sweat, blood and tears. The third founder was the IT expert who happened to have a love for all outdoor experiences, including tree discovery, and was highly competent and innovative in adding the ‘App creation’ ingredient.
The list of associated professionals and artists, editors, photographers, IT specialists and devoted testers is testimony to the sterling band of workers who contributed on a daily basis to this creative energy. Specifically the IT and art departments have allowed this app to have a life of its own that will entrance users for years to come.
As the App developers we can assure you that the app can sort through the list of possible trees and present a list – often a single tree, but always just a small number of trees – which includes your tree. The information on the species and the artwork will provide the means of getting to the names of the specific tree you have in front of you.
However, we do need you to understand that you are embarking on a journey of discovery. Every birdwatcher knows it took months or more before they even knew how to page meaningfully through Roberts or Newman to find the right SET of birds. Even after years of dedicated birding there are times when you are simply left flummoxed: the large brown eagles; the cisticolas; and many of the sea birds and waders too. The same applies to searching for Trees. You will NOT ID every tree you set out to name on the first attempt, and sometimes you will NOT be able to ID a tree at all.
There are very valid reasons for this:
- Trees with a wide distribution are influenced by the variability of the ranges of environments over South African. The data we drew from was reported in a very many different ways, from very many of sources and hours in the field; nonetheless, these data may STILL not match every tree, of every age and history, in every natural environment.
- Each user will have their own interpretation of the words that guide the App Search process; and time and experience in using TheTreeApp will lead to a vastly increased success rate and proficiency.
- Within a species, individual trees vary considerably in their characteristics, especially when growing in places influenced by human activities. The characteristics of a particular tree might therefore fall outside the range of the data in the app.
- Indigenous trees are often planted far from their natural distributions. Therefore these trees will not appear in lists from areas outside the natural range; yet you might well be trying to identify them by Selected, Reserves or Current location. Rather use RSA as a Location, so they cannot be missed.
- Even though TheTreeApp contains data on a large number of the taller trees, there are still a small number that are not included in this first volume. Perhaps your tree is one of these.
- There are very many alien trees that are introduced to serve particular purposes and we have only included the more common ones or those which have been identified as being a threat to some aspect of the environment
Despite the list above we can promise you a good measure of success; especially when compared to using traditional book keys. We are sure that you will get closer to a name, using TheTreeApp, much faster. Often you will find the name of the tree itself; and if not, you will reduce the list of 1113 down to 3 or 4 trees. But we cannot promise you 100% ID success rate.
What we can promise you is a whole new world of entertainment and interest, through the eyes of TheTreeApp. As you discover more and more about each new-found tree, and as you identify and learn the characteristic that make each one of them a part of South Africa’s Tree World, we sincerely hope you too will enjoy the fruits of our passion and labour!