Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere & Forest (LEAF) Centre

Fieldwork in the Tropics: Update from Vietnam

August 19, 2016

PhD student Suzanne Stas reports on her fieldwork this summer in the Khe Nuoc Trong forest, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam.

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Suzanne’s research is based in the Khe Nuoc Trong forest which is protected for the important watershed services it provides but is still vulnerable to illegal logging.

One way to protect forests from logging, and other threats, is to establish a value for the carbon they contain – which can be used to generate carbon “credits”. Money raised from the sale of these credits can then be spent on conservation activities in the area.

However, for this process to take place – it is important to know exactly how much carbon is stored by the forest and how that number is affected by degradation and deforestation.

Late in 2015, Suzanne visited Vietnam to meet with local environmental researchers and NGOs. This trip enabled Suzanne, and her PhD supervisor Professor Dominick Spracklen, to get a better understanding of the work going on in the region and to plan the fieldwork for this summer.

“Our fieldwork in Vietnam is progressing well and we have been on several trips to various sites in the Khe Nuoc Trong forest. During most of the field work we camped inside the forest, in a tent like the one shown below, as the sites are quite remote”, said Suzanne.

fieldcamp

“We established plots (shown below), measured hundreds of trees and counted stumps from logging”

plots

“We were lucky enough to see some wildlife: we had two encounters with snakes, found some huge spiders and spotted monkeys. Plus, we have all been stung by forest bees. Even as a biologist, unfortunately I can’t identify this reptile (below) further than a small green snake!” added Suzanne.

greensnake

“Dinner with the field team – I learned to eat a bowl of rice with chopsticks (without getting sore muscles in my hand!)”

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This work is funded by the World Land Trust; find out more about their conservation work in the Khe Nuoc Trong forest here.