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

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Trees of Shimoni Forest

This expedition, we have been working hard on identifying the species of trees that lie within the forests of Shimoni. Though it might sound a bit nerdy, here we feel the excitement every time a new tree is identified. Once you start learning about tree identification it's hard to stop and can be as addictive as bird identification. If you are not already a bird lover, chances are if you volunteer with GVI Kenya, you will become one.
-Krista and the gang tree hunting-

When we go tree hunting, we look for trees that are ready to be identified, i.e. they have flowers and/or fruit. If they don’t have these they can become very difficult to ID, soley relying leaf margin, arrangement or shape, trunk and bark features. We bring samples and pictures back and then put together a database of information for each tree so that we can use this for future identification purposes. The fun part of learning about trees is stumbling across trees that have an interesting sustainable human use, for example, making tamarind juice from the fruits of the tamarind tree.

-Making tamarind juice - a local favourite-
Hopefully soon we’ll have enough data and enough trees identified to be able to use it for other scientific purposes. Our goal is to see which trees are important to the Colobus monkey habitat, and to observe what impact the destruction of certain trees will have on the forest and on the animals, and know how to better educate the people of the community.