Raymond Glover’s Diary
Tidal Forests of Kenya

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July 28, 2009: First work in the lab

Soil samples Due to the tides in Kinondo we switched the day's program around a bit. Before heading to the site we went to the lab for a talk by Joseph Langat, who is studying for his PhD on this project, about mangrove forests and climate change. He described how greenhouse gases have increased over time, coinciding with the industrial revolution in the 1850's in the upper latitudes (Europe and America) and also describing the natural interaction of greenhouse gases between the atmosphere, land and sea. From studying data it has been seen that there is some "missing" CO2. Earthwatch has started a project running from now until 2013 to investigate if mangroves acting as carbon sinks are absorbing this missing CO2. The work we will be conducting later in the week will be the start of this project. Following this talk we headed off to the field to continue the biomass and fauna work from yesterday. Following a late lunch some of us volunteered for lab work. One team were entering the data recorded this morning, and myself and Timothy were preparing some soil samples (taken earlier). Basically we had to make and weigh some foil trays, into which we placed an approximate quantity of the soil samples and recorded the total weights. They then have to spend 24 hours in an oven to dry out before recording the dry weights and moving to the next step. Before dinner this evening we were given a talk by Amina Juma from the Gazi Women's group about their work and the Gazi mangrove project. She described the threats to the mangrove forests (pollution, cutting for timber, sea level rise etc) and then outlined the objectives for the women's group which are to reduce the pressure on the mangroves by setting up alternative projects, such as planting alternative species for sources of timber. The group also have plans to introduce beekeeping, small scale fish farming for the community and also promote ecotourism through promoting the boardwalk project in schools, hotels and media. These projects will help support the women's group, the fishermen and the youth groups. Income is also used to sponsor the high achieving school children to further their education. After dinner of Pilau (rice with goat meat), pepper sauce and salad we drove to a local bar in the next village (owned by Michael's father). While there, as part of the program each volunteer is encouraged to give a talk to the group. Tonight we were given a talk by Bronwyn on her PHD studies at the Australian Antarctic base studying the impact of refuse from the station on the Antarctic environment.

Click image to enlarge.