Molly Brown’s Diary
Climate Change, Canopies and Wildlife in the Ecuadorian Andes

« Back to all Posts

September 28, 2009: Aerial Taxonomy…

HummingBirdFlying After breakfast Agi and I set off with Tim and Martin for the aerial taxonomy study. We walk around the self guided trail until we come to a bit of forest where aerial photos had been taken by a toy helicopter. We are trying to determine which canopies belong to which trees and tag the trees. So this process involved quite a bit of machete work to go off the path into the forest and find the trees. It is my favorite thing I have done so far. Agi is keeping track of the tag numbers and I am marking the GPS positions of the trees. Once we have them all tagged properly the botanist will go back and identify the tree species. The scientists will then be able to teach a computer to look at a photo of the canopy and know what species of trees are in the photo. We spent all morning in the brush and then headed back for lunch. After lunch Agi and I went back out with Martin (Tim was not feeling well) and continued on with our tree tagging. We went into some even steeper areas that were slippery and downhill. I was trying to slide down sideways without losing my footing and falling down the hill. Agi and I were helping each other and Martin was trying to machete us a path. We tagged trees until about 4 pm and then headed back to the lodge. I went down and changed my clothes since I was soaked and completely muddy. After dinner we had a presentation by Miguel on the reason for the biodiversity in Ecuador. It is amazing how many species of plants are here.

Click image to enlarge.