African Tropical Rainforest Observation Network

Jungle Scene Jungle Scene Jungle Scene Jungle Scene Jungle Scene Jungle Scene Jungle Scene


  • October - December 2016
Sunrise at Langouecamp, Gabon (photo: Greta Dargie 2016)

From the end of October to the end of December 2016 a team, comprised of UCL postdoctoral assistant, Greta Dargie and several members of the Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationale scientific research team, travelled around Gabon remeasuring forest plots as part of a much wider forest recensus to capture any effects of the 2015 El Niño. A total of nine one hectare plots were remeasured across five different sites. The first site, Mondah, a lowland coastal forest, is located just a 30 minute drive from the capital, providing the team with a gentle introduction to the mission.

After this the team travelled ca. 90 km inland to the national park of Monts de Cristal. Here a total of four forest plots were remeasured. Originally five forest plots had been planned, however, with heavy rainfall and the fifth plot only accessible by traversing a river the fifth plot became unreachable. Although within the same national park, the forest plots spanned a large area, with nearly a two hour drive between some of the plots. Elephant and chimpanzee sightings in the middle of the road ensured, however, that the journey was never dull.

After battling through flooded roads, the team left Monts de Cristal and continued another ca. 125 km2 further east, to a small town called Mitzig to find the Oveng forest plot, situated in a nearby logging concession. Despite being situated in the middle of a logging concession the team found the plot intact.

After a short break in Libreville work continued at the fourth site, Haut Abanga, another logging concession, located approximately half way between Mont de Cristal and Mitzig. This logging concession is so big, there is even a landing strip for planes to fly workers in and out.

The final two plots were located inside Ivindo National Park. To get there the team first had to take an overnight train from Libreville to the small village of Moyabi. From there it was a two day walk to the camp of Langoué, where the two forest plots are located. Ivindo National Park is teaming with wildlife and the trip there didn’t disappoint, with a family of gorillas spotted on the walk back.