Marked Centre Point of an “Easy” ConFoBi Plot
By Johannes Penner, Project Coordinator
Photo Credit: Johannes Penner
The project is well under way and everyone is more than busy. An ambitious time schedule and work programme leave little time to relax. The 12 PhD students are fully immersed in their tasks and the coordination team is kept on their toes managing many projects. One of the most important tasks for the last months, besides an internal symposium, was to discuss our study plots with the forest authorities who are responsible for their respective districts. In our case, this means communicating about our 135 planned, 1ha plots, with seven forest state agencies (“Untere Forstbehörden”) totaling around 60 local foresters plus their supervisors.
Last year the first set of plots were identified, using a range of criteria in GIS (geographical information system) and with the collaboration of the FVA (forest research institute Baden-Württemberg). Through field visits with the foresters, we identified some plots as critical, i.e. cannot be used as they are, meaning new plots had to be selected, amounting to more than 180 potential study areas. Besides the existing criteria, new challenges appeared such as respecting resting areas of red deer and nesting black storks.
By now the majority of plots are decided on and a team of two field assistants has deployed to mark the centre points and borders of each plot. As if this alone, in sometimes steep and undulating terrain with a capricious differential GPS, is not challenging enough, they have other important tasks to complete. Along a transect inside the plots they gather data about lying and standing dead wood, distribute data loggers to measure temperature, and help exchanging the specimen jars on the flight interception traps.
Meanwhile, the coordination team advances in planning the year and its many upcoming events. In the ever evolving projects and connections in the science as in the community, we aim to keep you informed. So stay tuned and check out our blog, webpage and Facebook, as we continue to improve it.