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French app helps you identify flora and fauna

The French forests agency has developed an app which can tell you what tree you are looking at thanks to a few simple questions

Clés de forêt helps users to identify species in three categories: trees, footprints, and birds of prey Pic: hekopmylife / Shutterstock

The next time you go for a walk through the forest, there is no need to be left wondering exactly what trees and wildlife you are sharing the space with, thanks to an app developed by the Office national des forêts. 

Clés de forêt helps users to identify species in three categories: trees, footprints, and birds of prey. 

It does this through a series of up to six questions. 

For trees, for example, you are invited to select whether it has leaves or needles, then whether they are simple or complex leaves (with distinct leaflets). 

Three questions later, the app reveals the variety of tree you are standing before, and presents you with facts, photos, and a map of France showing areas where it naturally grows. 

When identifying birds, the app will ask you whether you spotted it during the day or at night, in the mountains or on flat land, and for features such as its size and silhouette. 

The questions allow you to identify 49 trees, 14 animal footprints, and 19 birds of prey, all of which you are likely to come across while out for a walk in nature in France. 

The app is available on Apple and Android devices, and works even when there is no internet connection. 

Forests cover 31% of metropolitan France and are home to 190 varieties of tree, within seven main varieties: oak, beech, chestnut, maritime pine, Scots pine, spruce and fir. 

A similar app, AGIIR, encourages you to identify species which are somewhat less pleasant. 

Read more: Be careful eating wildflowers on spring walks, warns health agency

Developed by the INRAE environmental research institute, the app lets you signal the presence of invasive insects such as Asian hornets and brown marmorated stink bugs, which can pose a threat to food production or public health.

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