I've always been a bit of a mystic when it comes to places (this is probably part of the reason I became a geographer). I often marvel at terrain, vistas, flora, fauna, and even (occasionally) the human-made components of the landscape. I'm always excited when I find art that captures some element of the aesthetic and wonder of a place. The screenshot above is captured from a video by adilblues on Vimeo that inspires me. I haven't seen all of these sights yet (perhaps one day), but I did stand in awe of the seascapes of Kenting on our first weekend here in July.
You too can spend watching 4 minutes of inspired wonder.
I was surprised to see how arid parts of Palawan are. As the road north of Puerto Princessa winds through the hills above the sea, the ground becomes rocky, and the land cover changes from mangroves, fruit trees, and bamboo to grassy tussocks and bushes. This is actually the first time that I've seen a landscape that looks close to arid in the Philippines.
Perhaps this is due to the relative isolation of Palawan from the other islands of the Philippines, which attracts less moisture and precipitation? Or perhaps this is simply due to my limited experiences at lower altitudes during my travels in the Philippines? The drive actually reminded me of the many drives we've done through the area between Morogoro and Mikumi in Tanzania.
Livelihoods in the area also seemed to indicate a more arid climate: pastures were fenced, and the grasses in certain areas appeared to be heavily grazed. Little evidence of agriculture, though the transition zones between the coast and the hills did have mango and other fruit farms.
Fascinating and surprising and another reason that I enjoy visiting new places!
Today marks our last day in Serengeti as we head back east through the Crater Highlands to Karatu. Everyone is well and has enjoyed seeing multiple leopards, lions, and servals as well as a cheetah hunt and some great elephant sightings! Stuck in the mud only once and hyenas in camp last night. Great memories and lots of fun!
"This much is crystal-clear: our bigger-and-better is now like a hypochondriac, so obsessed with its own economic health as to have lost the capacity to be healthy."
Forward to A Sand County Almanac
After months and months of not making progress on my graduate degree, I successfully defended my thesis research proposal in November, in spite of having yet to learn some of the methods that I'm hoping to rely on to assess land cover and vegetative change in my focus area.
I've been taking a course about how to apply raster analysis in ArcMap to examine social and ecological landscapes. After months of churning away, I finally figured out how to generate an NDVI image from Landsat imagery - significance here being that NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) is one of the methods that I'm hoping to use to quantify biomass change over time. Here's my first shot at it:
Definitely a very rough first shot. Notice that I failed to remember to include a legend to inform you what you're looking at (basically, the lighter the color, the higher the biomass - the massive white areas are forests on the slopes of Mounts Meru and Kilimanjaro. The ranch that I'm focusing on is outlined in green (again, forgot to explain that). Also, I didn't mask for clouds, meaning the darker dots in the northeast corner of the ranch are actually cloud shadows...ooh, and I also forgot to include that the map is oriented traditionally with North being up.
Lots more of these in my future for sure, so I figured I had to enshrine my first attempt so that I can be embarrassed about its crudity later!