Maktau farm

Today we continued studying plant and environment monitoring methods. Eight o’clock in the morning the bus left the research station and head to the Maktau village located East from Taita hills. In Maktau we got familiar with farm land owned by Mwadime  (the foreman of the station) and his family. The farm represented typical agriculture land of the region, but it was also  interesting test field of many combinations of  diverse plant species and measuring loggers. The most common plant was maize, but there were also cowbeans, peanuts, watermelons, cassavas, passion fruits and papayas just to mention some. Also bees, chickens and goats were part of the farming goods.

The road through to the maize field
Eddy covariance and solar panels

Our job was to measure different variables that may indicate condition of maizes (also cowbeans and some hays). These variables were height of the plant, chlorophyll value, temperature of leafs and soil, and stomatal conductance. Stomatal conductance measures the openness of leaf pores, which indicates amount of drought. Stomatal conductance was measured with machine called porometer.

Chlorophyll measuring
Effective team work

We work very effectively with two teams. The first team located the numbered test plants and measured the heights. Second team took other measurements and one person took notes. At some point we noticed that clouds in the skyline were momentarily moved revealing snowy slopes of mt. Kilimanjaro. It was nice to see the highest peak of Africa even from distance.

mt. Kilimanjaro

After measurements Mwadime’s family offered us meal and we returned to the base camp. At evening we decided to have movie night and watch (probably the best) Disney classic ”The Lion King”. Despite problems with wifi connection, we managed to enjoy about the first half of this timeless story. Hopefully we can watch the rest some other night.