In addition to exciting "landmark" scientific studies, the staff of the Department of Scientific Services are also conducting large-scale, long-term ecosystem monitoring. The data they collect provides the bedrock of scientific knowledge upon which our restoration and conservation decisions are made.
This work is critical for Gorongosa but will also provide future baseline data for scientists and conservationists all over the world as they work to restore damaged ecosystems. Gorongosa is a kind of living lab where scientists interested in "restoration ecology" can test ideas about how to repair the world's damaged wild places. This science will become more important for future generations, as humanity seeks to redress some of the adverse effects of the human footprint.
Some examples of our ongoing monitoring work are:
Fire Monitoring -
Fire is a vital component in our grasslands and woodlands. It rejuvenates the grass layer and provides nutritious regrowth for the herbivores. It prevents the encroachment by woody species. We are monitoring the occurrence of fires here over space and time, studying the interaction between fire, vegetation and animals in detail.
Vegetation Composition and Structure Monitoring
– In 2010 we established a number of permanent monitoring plots to track the composition, structure and productivity of the vegetation. During 2011 we expanded this program and we already re-surveyed some of the original plots.
Wildlife Population Monitoring –
We have been monitoring wildlife populations in the park regularly since 2007 through aerial surveys to track changes over time and to measure the impact of our conservation efforts. These aerial surveys are also supplemented with targeted ground surveys, night surveys, and surveys specific to species groups – such as birds and amphibians.