This past week, I had an amazing opportunity to experience what life is like out in the wilderness with no nearby towns or services. I got to climb to the top of what seemed like Mount Everest, and hike up and down major mountains out into the middle of the tropical forest. In the forest, I helped to conduct a research project with a few other classmates, professors Mariano Soley and Achim Haeger, and a genius botanist.

The idea was to construct four forest plots within four different areas of forest, measuring and identifying each individual tree that is found within the plot. The main goal was to accomplish all of these tasks without falling and rolling down the hill of the mountain, as the plots are set up on relatively steep slopes. I truly enjoyed romping through the forest and constructing the forest plots, as it was a way for me to gain a general idea of how forest research is conducted.

After conducting this research, I found I have gained further interest in studying how the effects of forest fragmentation from human impact affects the diversity and structure of forests. Thanks to SFS, I have a better understanding of what conducting research is all about, as well as a new perspective of the importance of sustainability. It’s not just simply “going green” in our daily lives, but also researching land use practice in different ecosystems, such as the forest. Go, forest, go!