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The pre-field stage of the topographic survey involved processing Landsat TM images. Off-screen colour photographs and GIS plots were taken into the field as hard copy base maps, to check the distribution and zonation of the coastal wetlands. This led to the identification of areas of inland mangroves and their subsequent reconnaissance survey.
The field survey teams were divided into five, working on topographic, soil, vegetation and land-use analysis, with a final group investigating nitrous oxide diffusion, distributed north-south along the 200 miles of coastline from Mexico to Guatemala. Ten coastal sites were chosen with one island and three inland sites for the wetland survey and 40 sites were examined for the nitrous oxide work. The main research concerned the coastal wetlands since these are the areas most vulnerable to development. At all of these sites, levelling surveys were made of the transects established by the botanical and soil-sediment groups. Soil colour and water pH and conductivity were recorded directly in the field. Detailed descriptions of the standing vegetation, site topography and auger and soil-pit profiles were recorded for each location. Soil samples were then air-dried in preparation for their transport back to Edinburgh.
Upon return to the UK, the soil and water samples were analysed in the Department of Geography laboratories. Samples were analysed for a wide range of properties including pH, carbonate content, organic carbon, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, exchangeable cations, exchangeable bases and particle size. Samples of evolved gases collected in the field were analysed by gas chromatography, to measure their nitrous oxide content at the Scottish Agricultural College.
The project was funded by the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) under their Strategy Programme for Research in Forestry and Agroforestry.
Prof Peter Furley
Prof Peter Furley (Scientific Programme)
Dr Jim Ratter*
Soils & Hydrology
Dr Neil Stuart*
Dr Malcolm Murray*
Conservation & Development
Dr David Munro*
Dr Bob Rees
* OFI Project personnel.
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