The 2nd field season for the York REAL team begun in February 2015 with visits and meetings at various institutions for possible collaboration and networking. Esther Githumbi met with the Kenya CIFOR team Mariana Rufino and Alphonse on the 16th of February at their ILRI office on their ongoing research in the Mau ecosystem to answer: How do land-use changes affect the water supply that this forest landscape protects—and what does that mean for the people who depend on it? How does the conversion of forest for commercial and smallholder agriculture, ranching or timber plantations affect greenhouse gas emissions? What do the changes in the landscape mean for climate change, its mitigation and people’s ability to adapt to it? during a three year funded project (Mau Project).
On the 11th of February a visit was made to Nyabuiyabuyi swamp located in the Eastern Mau Forest, it was during the dry season and what is also known as the fire season which is the dry period Jan-March/April that falls between the short and long rains. The fire season had just been announced on the 10th of February after a major fire that burned down over 40,000ha of forest. The drive up to the site shows intensive land clearing that is occurring both by cutting and burning down of the forest. At the site vegetation surveys were carried out, recovery and setting up of pollen traps and landscape photography were undertaken. The activities were carried out by Esther Githumbi (University of York), Colin Courtney Mustaphi(University of York), Rebecca Muthoni (National Museums of Kenya) and Nicholas Mutheu (BIEA).
On the 19th of March a visit to the second study region Amboseli was made for the same activities as carried out in the Eastern Mau with more landscape surveys and vegetation mapping.
By Esther Githumbi, Colin Courtney Mustaphi