Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mapping Shimoni Forest

Matt wrote before about the colobus census in Shimoni East forest, for volunteer Marta's masters dissertation. The aim of her dissertation is to assess the effects of forest fragmentation on the distribution of the Angolan black and white colobus.

The main bulk of her practical field work was the census which was successfully completed. To go hand in hand with that data, and provide the information needed to utilise GIS mapping systems, we needed to get GPS coordinates of the entire circumference of the forest... a far more challenging task than we imagined...

Matt and Marta spent two days traversing the perimeter of the forest on foot, with GPS in hand, recording coordinates every 10 seconds. Starting at the southern most point they walked north east following the forest edge that meets Shimoni village, and ended at the northern boundary of the forest, beyond the village of Anziwani. It was enormously challenging because the edge of the forest is a mosaic of very thick, dense new growth, shrubs, thorns and thickets! And following the rains everything was green, thick, overgrown and distinguishing forest edge from regenerating farmland and sporadic stands of trees was not an easy task.

It was an adventure though and despite the bruises, scratches and tired legs, Matt and Marta remained focused on the fact that once complete, her dissertation will add to our knowledge about Shimoni forest and support its conservation.