TEAM is a global network of field sites in tropical forests, where climate and biodiversity data have been collected for almost a decade, to monitor long-term trends in tropical ecosystems. Data is being uploaded immediately after being collected in the field, and is thus a basis for an ‘early warning system’ on the status of biodiversity to effectively guide policy and conservation action. Standardized protocols, designed and fine-tuned over time by a group of scientists and collaborators, allow for comparison between all sites.
TEAM was initiated by Conservation International (CI) and is financially supported by the Moore Foundation. In 2009, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) went into partnership with CI to add several sites to the network, with historical links to WCS. ITFC is proud to have been asked to lead activities for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) and to join the list of illustrious research organizations and protected areas that are already part of TEAM Network.
We implement the TEAM program in BINP in close collaboration with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), managers of the park. Together, we collect data on climate, terrestrial vertebrates and vegetation. An automated climate station was set up near the institute to collect daily weather data (rainfall, temperature, relative humidity and solar radiation).
30 camera traps are set up in the forest for 30 days in the low and high altitude zone (in the dry season; May and July respectively). After retrieval form the field, the wildlife in the images is identified, the images systematically archived and sent to TEAM for uploading onto their website.
Refer to our blogging site for more of these first, exciting pictures from the camera traps.
Six 1-hectare permanent sample plots were established for vegetation monitoring, two in each of the lower, middle and higher altitude zone of BINP. In each plot, all trees, tree ferns and lianas with a diameter-at-breast-height of at least 10 cm are mapped, measured and identified. The vegetation plots are measured each year between December and February (dry season).
The data set of any TEAM site may be publicly accessed from www.teamnetwork.org after signing the terms and conditions of a Data use agreement. ITFC, however, has every intention to publicise the results of our TEAM activities first!