The urban environment is expanding at a never before seen rate. Existing natural environments within urban centres, such as forests or woodlots, are exposed to increasing anthropogenic pressures of degradation, fragmentation, biological invasion and destruction.
One key to our capacity to understanding these changes will be ongoing monitoring through time. If such monitoring is democratized and publicly available then one may assume that a marginalized environment may become more valued by the human population. On the University of Guelph campus in Ontario, Canada, the ìDairy Bushî is an 8.5 ha woodlot that has been part of the city and the university campus since 1830. The sign outside the Bush reads, "The Dairy Bush is a unique and delicate example of Great Lakes St. Lawrence forest in Southern Ontario, and serves as an outdoor laboratory for University of Guelph students."
Starting in August 2009 and continuing 1 time/week until this moment I visit the Dairy Bush weekly to document time in this urban woodlot using GigaPan panoramic images.
Costa Rican Forests (Area de Conservacion de Guanacaste)
The ACG (www.acguanacaste.ac.cr /), is a 163,000 hectare national park in northwestern Costa Rica, extending from 6 km out in the Pacific up to 2000 m at the top Volcan Rincon de la Vieja and down into the Atlantic lowland rain forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ACG is home to more than 325,000 species of plants and animals (2.6% of the world's biodiversity) and has grown dramatically from a 10K acre national park (formalised in 1971) to a global example of tropical biodiversity conservation, dependent upon, and inserted within, the development and economy of the local people. If you are interested in more information on the ACG, please visit the Guanacaste Dry Forest Fund website (www.gdfcf.org /). At the bottom of that page you'll find a button to donate to the ACG. "Every penny donated to GDFCF goes to forest purchase to expand ACG" - a very worthwhile investment!
I am a molecular ecologist, based at the University of Guelph in Ontario Canada, and interested in tracking how ACG ant communities change here with elevation, temperature and time. I have been following this across three volcanoes in Guanacaste Province (Cacao, Rincon de la Vieja and Orosi) since 2008. My hope and intent is to continue this monitoring for the long term - using the GigaPan to document habitat in high resolution.
Habitat and sampling localities for project: "DNA barcode-based biodiversity assessment of North American invertebrates: species richness, structure and stability" sites.google.com/site/algonquinorg /
Panoramas through time nearby to ongoing Malaise trap insect collections in the old-growth forest of the Shaw Woods Outdoor Centre (www.shawwoods.ca ) The mission of the Shaw Woods Outdoor Centre is, "To foster an ethic of responsible environmental stewardship by providing unique experiential environmental education and outdoor learning opportunities to local school groups, communuity organizations and the public at large."