A new smartphone app, designed to combat the spread of tree diseases such as Ash Dieback, was launched by the departments of agriculture both north and south of the Boarder in the last week.
Treecheck seeks to enlist the help of the public by providing them with a series of menus from which they can pin-point their location, the tree species, and observations, along with a facility to upload photographs of the problem noticed.
The Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture, Tom Hayes said that recent disease outbreaks in both ash and larch had heightened the authorities' awareness of the potential threats to the Irish forestry sector.
"Increased movement of plants and plant products in global trade and changing weather patterns will only serve to heighten these risks, and it is essential that we all play our part in protecting the economy and the environment," he said.
The development of TreeCheck is a joint initiative between officials in the departments of agriculture in Dublin and Belfast, according to the Northern minister, Michelle O'Neill.
"This development will enhance the ability of forest owners and the public to accurately report suspect tree diseases and pests, and enable more effective follow up by department inspectors," she said.
By using GPS technology embedded in smartphones the location of the suspect tree can be captured by the app to allow inspection if required.
The TreeCheck app can be accessed at www.treecheck.net.