Tropical forestry monitoring

Albert Baarsma from the Netherlands, first visited REGUA in 2012. He was struck by the success of the reforestation project and by the beauty of the Mata Atlântica in particular. Three years later he returned to build on the data gathered by previous forest monitoring projects and is carrying out a project to compare growth and survival success rates from different planting years.

Albert setting the plot (© Sue Healey)

With a strong success over eleven years of tree planting, REGUA provides an excellent environment for his research. Albert is able to ascertain the years of planting for each of the chosen areas.   Most of these areas are in easy walking distance of the conservation centre and accommodation. He has set up plots of 10 X 10 metres and uses plots already monitored previously by forestry engineers.

Assessing soil quality (© Sue Healey)Albert plans to carry out all the field work in four weeks, with the help of some of REGUA’s staff. Head nurseryman Mauricio helps Albert to identify the different species present and others, such as volunteers, help with gathering information and measuring trees. After the fieldwork Albert will do an initial analysis at REGUA to ensure that no further information is required before he returns home for the long process of full analysis to continue.

Once a plot is established, each tree within a plot is measured for height and also the trunk diameter at chest height (1.30 metres). Any tree with a trunk diameter of more than two centimetres is included in the main monitoring. The diversity of the under-storey is also vital to understanding the health of the forest and natural regeneration so wherever possible the names of these smaller plants are also noted. Other aspects of the plot such as canopy cover and soil quality are noted as well.

REGUA looks forward to seeing the outcome of all Albert’s hard work in the future, and is grateful for the data which his monitoring will provide for further successful reforestation.