On Tuesday we began surveying the site at Natua with Marika, Alivereti, the Conservation Officer, Seka and Sam, the village major. Alivereti and Marike proved invaluable by quickly identifying many of our required species by eye. We were also given a crash course in the common Fijian names of many of the species which will make it easier for our local guides to help identify the correct samples after Marike and Alivereti travel back to Suva later in the week.
It rained heavily throughout the day, which was unfortunate for Harry, as he was not able to use CIRAS (an instrument used to measure measures conductance and photosynthesis in plants). This left plenty of time for taking pictures of our amazing surroundings.
Harry making the most of the photo opportunities 🙂
On Wednesday we travelled to our site at Sequaqa, which is actually pronounced Senganga. Again we were accompanied by our friends from USP and made swift progress tagging nearly all of our samples throughout the day. The site at Sequaqa is a dry forest and the difference between the two sites is quite remarkable. This is caused by a mountain ridge that lies between the two sites, with the land to the south experiencing relief rainfall throughout much of the day while the leeward side of the mountain experiences predominantly dry weather.
Wuu Kuang identifying a sample
Our site at Sequaqu is split between two nearby locations which we drive between. Travelling to the second location we quickly realised our rental car was not up to the task of travelling the terrain of the logging paths and we agreed it was necessary to upgrade to a 4×4 truck later that evening.
We were also lucky enough to have some local guides accompany us in the field which made life a lot easier for us. Armed with their machetes and excellent knowledge of the local forests, they helped cleared pathways and identify trees.
Our guides at Sequaqa the end of a long day