How Important are Figs in the Conservation Effort at Amurum Forest Reserve, Laminga?
Fig trees are known to be keystone species which make food available to fruit eating animals during the period of food scarcity. In a bid to make food available for frugivores, especially during the dry seasons when most fruits trees have stopped fruiting.
This project will investigate what fig tree species are used most by the frugivores of the Amurum Forest Reserve and what fig trees are the least in population among the figs of the Reserve. The fig tree species that is most use/preferred and the least in population will be suggested to the management of the Reserve as the fig trees to include in their reforestation programme.
The activities of this project will include:
Tree identification: Pictures of all the different species of Ficus will be taken and mailed to Dr. Simon van Noort of the Iziko Museum Cape Town for identification. Tree samples will also be collected and dried in a press and sent to Dr. van Noort to help in the tree identification process;
Focal observation: with a pair of binoculars, two fruiting individuals per Ficus Species will be observed from a distance of 10m. The species of animals, the number of individuals per species and the activities of every individual that visits the trees will be noted. This exercise will span 8 months;
Fig wasp collection and identification: Wasps will be collected from the same individuals that will be observed. All fig wasp identification will be done by Simon van Noort. This activity will run concurrently with the focal observation;
Tree count: The count will be done along four 1000m line transects in the Reserve. The distance between the observer and the tree will be measured using a Laser Range Finder, to allow for the use of Distance Program for analysis.
The result will be handed to the management of the reserve and the trees to be included in the reforestation programme will be suggested to them.