Dr. Margaret “CanopyMeg” Lowman’s update from her trip working to save the Church Forests of Ethiopia:
Monday, January 8 – Today we started sampling at our largest church forest site — Gelawdios — which is 100 hectares in size and dates back to 1500. We met with the head priest of this district, who cares passionately about conserving their church forests. He also is concerned about the increase of eucalypt planting; although everyone needs firewood, he sees the native tree species declining and the water table shrinking. He is a perceptive church leader! We conducted biodiversity surveys at the edge and also the interior of this site. Flies RULE! Our Diptera expert, Erica McAlister from the London Museum of Natural History, is in heaven. We also had a generous smattering of Coleoptera for our beetle team, including a tree totally consumed by an outbreak.