Scientists and Nationals gather to learn more about the natural environment of a mangrove swamp.
Red mangrove, Rhizophora racemosa

Cool temperatures, low humidity, and light, hazy clouds typical of Gabon’s dry season mark the beginning of a pleasant Saturday morning as we caravan north to a mangrove habitat near Pointe Pedras. The mangroves border lagoons along the coast. Those growing before us are red mangroves with the characteristic stilt roots. They are growing in sandy soil, inundated in the rainy season but now at the end of the dry season, the water depth is not much greater than mid-calf at the study site. Several scientists have arrived from the USA and India, and are interested in the carbon-storing capacity of mangroves in the region. They have hired guides and other Gabonese Nationals to assist with marking transects, measuring soil composition, soil depth, and tree densities.

A student from Oregon State University takes measurements from the canopy of a red mangrove

I had no idea a mangrove swamp could be so beautiful. These are relatively young mangroves, with space to move among them. Schools of small fish dart through the shallows as we measure transects, hiding among the stilt roots. Tracks of sitatunga, hippopotamus and elephant seem to suggest these animals use the mangrove swamp to move between the lagoons, forests and savannas making up this diverse habitat.

Eighteen of us are here today. Quite an impact on the delicate nature of this habitat. I look forward to returning in the future to walk quietly among the mangroves, hoping to catch a glimpse of the wildlife passing through.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by