March 4, 2010

Third African Forest Dynamics Plot Underway

A new 25-ha forest dynamics plot is being established in mature forest in the Rabi Protected Area in the Gamba Complex of protected areas in southwestern Gabon. The plot follows CTFS protocols and adds a third site to the existing African plots at Ituri (Congo) and Korup (Cameroon). Studies by the Smithsonian over the last decade have shown the Gamba Complex area, which encompasses the Rabi plot, to be extremely biodiverse. The plot is representative of the Guineo-Congolian rainforest that abounds in the Rabi landscape.

The project is part of the Gabon Biodiversity Program and represents a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatory (SIGEO), Smithsonian National Zoological Park Conservation Biology Institute and Center for Conservation, Education and Sustainability, Shell Gabon, the Government of Gabon, CTFS and other stakeholders. The plot will provide baseline data for studies of forest regeneration, carbon dynamics, and biodiversity. In addition, the plot affords the opportunity to help build scientific and resource-management capacity in the region. Late in 2009, researchers completed surveying 25-ha of the plot. Tree tagging, mapping, and identification will begin this year. For more information, please contact Alfonso Alonso or Francisco Dallmeier.

Photo by Gorky Villa