After one shift of work at the forest I heard of someone who needed some help getting GPS points of the forest. My head perked right up and I met up with a guy named Yoav. Yoav is an American who got a scholarship from the US gov’t to make a book on landmark trees in India. He has done a lot of research in the forest before and had some really good ideas of he wanted to contribute to Sadhana. After a few minutes of talking (in which he asked me a bunch of questions) we got off to do some surveying of the forest.
The surveys were simple, probably not statistically significant, however they do paint a picture of what is out there in the forest (which happens to be a whole lot of introduced nitrogen fixing pioneer species from Australia). We had a small crew and some crude tools, and we measured the trees that landed in our systematically placed 100m2 plot. It was cool, both Yoav and I could breeze through this process. After work was over we went walking in the forest geeking it up, talking about different species and land formation. I learnt a lot about ecology from Yoav.
We also took some GPS points, took some pictures and got some data for making a rough map for the area. Which was also cool. I was using a borrowed computer though, which complicated things, but I got it nearly completed. With only using 2005 aerial images from Google earth, I was able to construct a pretty good map, all that is missing is some information from Aviram (and he is a very busy man).
Next week I am going to show one of the long term volunteers how to set up a PSP and do some simple sampling (like tree planting plots, with a plot chord). I am also going to pound some steel into the ground and take pictures of those places, and make a SWP (Standard Work Procedure) so that anyone can come back and take pictures of the this forest as it grows (every 5 years). Aviram is pretty excited about this and it is neat that I am able to contribute to the project like this.
We have really enjoyed our stay here, it has been a lot of fun. We are planning to stay a little bit longer and then it is off to Mysore.