In Kibale National Park, Uganda, much research has been conducted over the past 30 years to measure primate populations, tree populations, mammal, bird and insect populations and the various parasitic diseases that may be affecting animal populations. Outside the park boundaries, land conversion is leaving fragments of forest and wetland patches, and people are planting crops and raising farm animals. At the same time, climate change appears to be altering the rainfall patterns and temperature of the region. The intersection of landscape and climate change is likely having an effect both inside and outside the park. Examples of effects include primates and elephants using/destroying crops, wildlife and domestic animals (and people) sharing diseases, and crop yields and park vegetation changing with climate. I will use satellite imagery to look at the changes in vegetation and landscape over a long time span (30 or more years), both within and outside of the park. We can then compare this with prior measures of population health and surveys of human livelihood, and even predict what kinds of future changes to expect. The new findings can inform management strategies for the park and its surrounding landscape. This will lay the groundwork for similar approaches in other sites, such as examining the need for Ebola vaccination in gorillas and controlling SIV and respiratory disease transmission in chimpanzees in Tanzania.
More information about this research project and publications.