Ranomafana (07.01.2012 to 09.30.2012)

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Year: 
2012
Quarter: 
July - September
Communications activities: 
  • Lectures to local guides from Tsinjoarivo, Ambatolampy on TEAM project, different protocols (Vegetation, Terrestrial Vertebrates, and Climate) for a capacity building on field methodology of local people surrounding of the fragmented forest of Tsinjoarivo.
  • Collaborative presentation at the XXIV International Primatological Society Congress, Cancun, Mexico entitled “Occupancy Modeling: Using camera-trapping to make population-level inferences while accounting for imperfect detection”
Unusual Events at the TEAM Site: 

None

New Species: 

None

Protocol Activities: 

The renewal and the signature of the contract with CI Madagascar were done at the end of July 2012 after the preparation and submission of the third-year Budget. Then, the online sampling scheduler was entered into TEAM portal and accepted.

Ranomafana 2012 TEAM monitoring began with the gathering of the TEAM crews, reviewing and updating of protocols; and with field materials (GPS, Diameter Tape for DBH, Camera traps, etc.) verification and calibration.

For the vegetation protocol, in addition to the review and update on the TEAM vegetation protocol, reviewing on plant voucher techniques and field notes were also conducted with the techniques that were acquired from the previous field expedition training by a botanist expert from the Missouri Botanical Garden of Antananarivo. Then, the field vegetation monitoring started with the protocol vegetation at plot 3 (Andranofady), followed by the plot 5 (Maharira) and plot 6 (Mangevo) (Table.1).

Table 1. Vegetation Monitoring Site 3, 5, and 6 (ANDRANOFADY, MAHARIRA, and MANGEVO)

Site Expedition Period Site
PLOT 3 (ANDRANOFADY) September 09, 2012 Go to Andranofady – Plot 3
  September 10-12, 2012 DBH Measurement of error
  September 13-17, 2012 Plot tree DBH Measurement
  September 18-21, 2012 Voucher specimen collection and other observation
  September 22, 2012 Return from expedition
Site 5 (MAHARIRA) September 04, 2012 Go to Maharira – Plot 5
  September 05-11, 2012 Plot tree DBH Measurement
  September 12-16, 2012 Voucher specimen collection and other observation
  September 17, 2012 Return from expedition
Site 6 (MANGEVO) September 25-26 Go to Mangevo – Plot 6
  September 27 – October 03, 2012 Plot tree DBH Measurement
  October 04-08, 2012 Voucher specimen collection and other observation
  October 09, 2012 Return from expedition

Preliminary analysis of the vegetation data from site 3 (Andranofady) and site 5 (Maharira) demonstrates that more dead trees were found during the field monitoring. The passage of the cyclone Giovanna in February 2012 might have probably caused these damages to the vegetation within Ranomafana rainforest.  Many of them were broken or cut at the trunk and deprived of any leaves (Table 2).

Table 2. Proportion of dead trees within the two plots (3 and 5)

Description Plot 3 Plot 5
Total number of stems with DBH measured 1404 1292
Percentage (Number of Dead trees) 2,71 % (38) 4,64 % (60)

Additional vegetation data were also collected, such as, tree height; canopy cover and canopy shape were added to the field collected data, in order to be used for a broader future data analysis. Also, to get a broader knowledge on the plot plant structure and density, five subplots were also sampled and counted, at each plot, on their vegetation groups (such as smaller trees with DBH less than 10cm, Bamboo, Tree Ferns, Palm, Liana, and Dead Trees (Table 3 and Figure 1)) and structures.

Table 3. Density of each plant category within the plot 3 and plot 5

  Density/ha
VG Category Plot 3 Plot 5
Trees (DBH >10cm) 1404 1292
Trees (DBH < 10cm) 15825 22285
Bamboo 7145 1060
Palm 1065 1170
Tree Fern 1685 1660
Liana 1925 1285
Dead Trees 540 550

Figure 1. Density of each plant category within the plot 3 and plot 5

For the terrestrial vertebrate protocol, material inventory, camera trap cleaning and verifying, equipment and material calibrating (camera traps, GPS, etc.) were conducted. Prior to field expedition, preparation of field sheet per site, material ordering/purchasing, and battery charging and ordering/gathering, field schedule revising, etc. have been made. However, due to the difficulty in finding and getting the compact memory cards from the States for the “RECONYX RM45 Rapid Fire” camera traps, the field monitoring was delayed. Up to now, only 10 camera traps could be deployed within the half part of the Array 2 at Maharira site (Table 4.). The field camera deployment will continue, hopefully, as soon as more compact memory cards would be purchased and received from ICTE at Stony Brook.

Table 4. Camera trap deployment for the half of Array 2 (Maharira)

Array 5
Site Maharira
Total No. CTs 10
Deployment period Aug 25 – Sept 17
CT point ID number 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20

For the climate monitoring, data collection and station maintenance have been continuing regularly every two weeks for the station maintenance and every month for the data collection (Table 5). The station fencing had to be maintained because of the destruction of the poles. Data continues to be collected and uploaded to TEAM portal.

Table 5. Chronology of climate monitoring at Ranomafana TEAM site

Schedule/Month July August September
Maintenance 01/07/2012 and 15/07/2012 01/08/2012 and 15/08/2012 01/09/2012 and 15/09/2012
Data Collection 15/07/2012 15/08/2012 15/09/2012

Climate data have been collected and did not show much variation during the month of July to September (Table 6.).

Table 6. Climate data from Ranomafana TEAM Climate Station (July - September, 2012)

Month Temperature_Avg (°C) Relative Humidity_Avg (%) Precipitation_Avg (mm)
  Average Max Min Average Max Min Average Max Min
July 14.82 23.61 7.82 87.66 97.5 39.5 0.0069 1.016 0
August 15.77 25.00 8.43 84.086 97.3 29.08 0.0085 1.016 0
September 15.56 26.77 9.57 86.44 97.6 37.32 0.049 1.27 0

With communications and meeting with the national weather station, a preliminary site visit was held by the inter-regional service of meteorology from Fianarantsoa to inspect the climate equipment and its specificity; and to check the station emplacement whether it follows the international standardized norm or not. They were satisfied on most of the set up, but only proposed small modification on the surrounding vegetation of the station. After discussion with the national service main office in Antananarivo, they will proceed to the incorporation and registration of the TEAM climate station with the national meteorology service.

Protocol Problems: 

None

Schedule Problems: 

Even though the camera trapping team has been ready for the field monitoring expedition, the difficulty in finding/getting enough compact memory cards for the RECONYX RM45 Rapid Fire camera traps for purchase, made the expedition planning delayed. The compact memory cards are not available in Madagascar for purchase, and even in the States, our Institution at ICTE Stony Brook have had hard time in finding enough for the camera traps. With the few we got, we could start only the deployment of the half of the Array 2 at Maharira and hopefully soon the other half (Mangevo). We are still in search for more, hopefully, the expedition planning will be set based on their availability.

Logistical Problems: 

Because of the continuity of the mining activity within some of the forest areas of Ranomafana National Park, gendarmes were still hired to assure the safety of the TEAM crew during the field expedition. However, because of the changes within the administration fees of the gendarmes, the rate cost for the gendarmes was increased. Several meetings and discussions had to be held with the park manager and gendarmes to make compromising arrangement.

Suggestions: 

For the acquisition of memory cards for the camera trapping, it would be helpful to include in the following year budget for another set of camera memory cards, to use for the next monitoring year, in order to avoid any delay in the starting of the following year period.