Thesis projects

Current master projects

Spatial evaluation of the success of a reforestation project in the Ecuadorian Andes

Klara BrowaeysP1030474.JPG

Andean cloud forests are one of the most biodiverse biomes on earth; demonstrated by a large amount of endemic species and an especially high biodiversity index. At the same time, Ecuador is marked by one of the highest annual deforestation rates in the world (around 3% during 1989-2008). Over the last decennia a lot of deforestation has taken place in the Andean forests to provide space for agricultural expansion and grasslands to hold cattle. However, after only a couple of years most of these grasslands stop providing significant yield, due to erosion. Reforestation projects are essential in the re-valorization of these lands, bringing back social, economic and ecological value to the region. In this master thesis the success of a reforestation project in the Pichincha region, set up in 2011 by BOS+ in cooperation with Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, will be investigated. The approach to monitoring the reforested area will be twofold: the reforested terrains will be measured the traditional way with permanent sample plots but will also be monitored using a GIS approach. The reforested areas will be flown over by an UAV equipped with a RGB sensor. From the aerial images a 3D structure will be derived and it will be investigated whether tree height can be estimated out of this structure, which will be compared with the ground measurements. The tree heights of the total reforested area can enhance estimates for the amount of carbon sequestered in the reforested terrains. If proven accurate and reliable, a drone-based approach could increase the scale of monitoring in time and space at a relatively low cost.

 

 

Recently finished master projects

Impact of commercialization on the population parameters of Irvingia, a Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) genus in Cameroon
Jona Vanparys

This thesis aims to study the impact of different degrees of NTFP commercialization on the population of Irvingia (bush mango) trees. Increased pressure on NTFPs has an impact on the population through different processes such as overexploitation, domestication, privatisation,.. An participatory inventory will combine quantitative assessments (measurements of different tree attributes) with local knowledge to assess the actual impact on the target population. Fieldwork took place in Cameroon.

 

Monotemporal assessment of amount of Acacia’s (individuals, tree groups) and estimation of crown diameter classes of Acacia raddiana in Bou-Hedma National Park, Tunisia
Kevin Delaplace

In this study we focus on the Acacia raddiana forest steppe in Bou-Hedma National Park, Tunisia. A. raddiana is a keystone species in the pre-Saharan Tunisia zone, as it is the only tree persisting on the edge of the desert. The aim of the study is to perform a monotemporal assessment of the amount of Acacia raddiana and their crown diameter classes, with the use of a GeoEye-1 satellite image.