Savanna chimpanzee study sites are characterised by their extreme seasonality and conditions. Consequently, we have been actively monitoring the physical environment of the core area since 2008, with temperature, rain, wind, and humidity loggers deployed across the study area. These sensors, deployed across vegetation types and topographical levels, reveal not only seasonality differences, but also inter-annual climate patterns over prolonged periods. Additionally, phenology transects are walked monthly to monitor leafing and fruiting patterns of over 1000 trees. These data are also used to investigate chimpanzee nesting, habitat use, and vocalisation behaviour, and red-tailed monkey ranging patterns.
In May 2017, Anton Seimon of Appalachian State University and Wildlife Conservation Society, installed an Onset RX3000 weather station equipped with cellular connectivity that allows access by our team and all other interested parties via a dedicated website. Our weather station will become part of a network covering important conservation regions of the East African Great Lakes region.
Since 2008 we have also monitored phenological changes in >1000 woodland and gallery forest trees across the primary study area, each which has an individually unique metal tree tag. These monthly walks include not only productivity stage of the tree (leaves, fruits, flowers), but also DBH (see below). Data from this monitoring informs on food availability for the area’s wildlife, but also allows us to look at inter-annual fluctuations in tree productivity, especially in relation to rainfall and longer term climate change.