Ecological Research & Monitoring
Frankincense Forest Monitoring
Our initial survey in October 2016 revealed a high level of frankincense tree mortality and decline in some areas of the growing region. Subsequent surveys indicated that while there are areas of very well-managed trees, overharvesting is present even in very remote locations. We are continuing this assessment into more remote areas of the mountains to assess the health of the trees there. Additionally, we are gathering data on the density, demography, and distribution of the trees to estimate population size and trends for each species. We will also be gathering data on the reproductive ecology of the trees, substrate preferences, degree of forest regeneration. As part of this work we also conduct intensive interviews and focus groups with numerous local harvesters, landowners, chiefs, and elders. These interviews are conducted with both foreign and local interviewers, using a 360 camera to record the discussions and demonstrate transparency.
Once the initial data is gathered, we will continue to monitor the forests for regeneration and tree health, both by ground truthing and through the use of drones and remote sensing to allow broad-scale monitoring and rapid assessment.
Juniper Forest Degradation Assessment and Research
The juniper forest at the highest elevations of the escarpment is unique and particularly threatened. Areas of the forest are known to be degraded but it is not well understood to what degree or how this is affecting biodiversity. Together with our partners, we will conduct an ecological assessment of the juniper forest and surveys of the biodiversity in intact and degraded forests. We will also focus on the Warsangeli Linnet, an endangered and endemic finch found only in these forests.