Mozambique: Julian Bayliss, the last scientist to get to ‘discover’ 7000 African hectares

The discovery of 7,000 hectares of virgin rainforest in northern
Mozambique has caused huge excitement in the scientific community.
It’s extremely rare in this day and age to make such discoveries,
especially in Africa, and to be the first biologist to enter such a
huge area of untouched rainforest – well, it’s a dream come true for a
field-based conservationist such as myself, and to be the one who
discovered it is incredible.

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It also came as a complete surprise. I had come to Malawi in 2004 to
set up an ecological monitoring programme on Mount Mulanje on behalf
of the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust. Towards the end of my
contract I was asked to develop a cross-border project that would
gauge how much the mountains in northern Mozambique shared levels of
biodiversity with Mount Mulanje.

This was funded by the Darwin Initiative, a British government scheme that funds conservation biology in developing countries with a strong element of in-house training for host-country scientists, running in association with a British institution, in this case Kew Gardens. with the land satellite imagery available on Google Earth, we were able to calculate an approximate area of this forest of 7,000 hectares, which is verylarge.

With high-altitude mountain ranges there are usually pockets of forest here and there, maybe up to 1,000 hectares, but not much more. So to find something so large and undiscovered and untouched and unknown was hugely exciting. This work is as close as you can get to a modern version of the David Livingstone-type experience, those Victorian expeditions. To walk up to the top of Mount Mabu and look down over the forest and see it stretching from horizon to horizon as far as the eye can see in near perfect condition was like being in heaven.

One of the most exciting aspects of finding this section of rainforest, for me, is the fact that I’ve discovered five new species of butterfly. Although my career is based around conservation biology, ecology and protective area management, I’ve been collecting and studying butterflies since the age of seven.

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Comments (1)

fredericMay 2nd, 2009 at 5:36 pm

bonjour .je suis francais et je m appelle frederic ( 36 ans.)célibataire.
je suis a la recherche d un endroit ou vivre en armonie avec la nature.
ET votre découvert est stupéfiante et m interesse beaucoup.Je réverais de participer a vos recherche et je suis pret a vous aider…(classification, echantillonage,surveillance,porteur,teste ect)
courageux ,déterminer,pauser,ingénieux et pas trop con,je suis pret a rester la bas a plein temps ….
cé gratuit et un simple oui ferais de moi l homme le plus heureux du monde !
Cet imail est TRES sérieux meme si je sais qu il y a peu de chance pour que vous me faciez confiance…je réste a votre disposition pour tout renseignements compllémentaire.
En ésperent que vous y trouverais bien des réponses ,je vous souhaite la bonne aventure …

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