I have just returned from an excellent week with our ongoing plant traits campaign in Ghana, Kwaeemma ("Children of the Forest"). Since October, this team of 25 students and national service volunteers has been collecting data on plant traits and function along a gradient ranging from forest-savanna transition at Kogyae, through semi-deciduous forest at Bobiri, and ending up in evergreen wet rainforest at Ankasa in southwest Ghana. I joined the team in Ankasa. This lush green site is one of the hotspots of plant diversity in West Africa, possibly a Pleistocene refuge that stayed forest when much of West Africa turned to savanna or dry forest during dry periods.
In the campaign we are collecting leaf, wood and tree traits from canopy trees along this transect
The project is funded an ERC Advanced Investigator Award GEM-TRAIT, and a Royal Society-Leverhulme Africa Award.
Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University