This is not a holiday…

Forest monitoring in the South Pacific – Blog #5

To borrow Rob Whittaker’s favourite saying on Oxford Geography field trips – “this is not a holiday”… despite what it looks like!

Last week can be summed up in one word – windy / venteux. Planes and boats were stopped and the hotel went into a kind of stasis. It rained. A lot. That’s usually not a problem, but when the wind really gets going (which is actually quite rare), it’s not safe to take the boat over the shallow lagoon and reefs to our forest monitoring plots on other motu.

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A bit of rain never hurt anyone…

There’s an upside – were able to get on top of data entry and some preliminary analyses, and rejigged a few plans. This meant we could establish a small plot of Casuarina equistefolia (aito or ironwood) on the only inhabited motu of Onetahi, which Tetiaroa Society staff are keen to monitor and nurture into the future.

We had a great afternoon setting up the new plot together and Xénia’s innovative use of giant caliphers (intended for measuring turtle shells rather than trees!) made for some hilarious scenes.

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Lesson learnt – if you drop 100 sequentially numbered tree tags… you better hope you have a team as efficient as the Tetiaroa Society staff close by to rapidly fix the mess!

Every day is a big day now that we’re working to complete our sixth and final plot on Tetiaroa. So here are some photographs until we get a chance to stop and properly draw breath!

(The image quality on my phone is not amazing unfortunately – nicer images to come later!)

 

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