Sunday morning, and we’re off to work. We put on our rubber boots and rain gear, gather equipment for the day, and walk a short twenty meters to the edge of the forest. From here, it is a half kilometer hike through the mud and roots to our first field site. To reach it, we have to cross the Quebrada Sonadora on a bouncy cable bridge. Flash floods are common here – the last bridge was slightly lower and was destroyed by water in 2004. Today the flow was at least eight feet below the bridge, despite yesterday’s rains – imagining a bridge-destroying flood gives one an appreciation for the dynamic nature of the forest.
We spent most of the day surveying the remaining 300 meters of forest on our first plot. Amanda made the tree size measurements (diameter at breast or ground height), and I recorded data and put metal tags on unsurveyed plants, before switching tasks for the afternoon. In this forest, smaller stems and lianas (woody vines) are not recorded, so we had a lot of work to do – perhaps two hundred seedlings unearthed, or vines chased until their rooting point was found.
Tomorrow we add two people to the field crew, and look forward to more progress starting another plot!