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Entries in Tikon (12)


Resource Needs Assessment

Gumring Jungkum (WCS Myanmar Program) takes notes during a Resource Needs Assessment (RNA) interview in Tikon (see Faces of Tikon and Three Jumps to Tikon). As is shown, most of the interviews were conducted by flashlight at night when people had returned home from their fields; welcome cups of hot tea were routinely provided by the households.

The RNA interviews are used to document the species and quantities of plant resources that households harvest from the forest each year, i.e. the demand. These are followed up with transect inventories to quantify the density and size-class distribution of each resource, i.e. the supply. Management planning is then undertaken together with the villagers to see what can be done to balance supply and demand and move local patterns of resource use to a more sustainable level.

[NOTE: If all goes well (visas and stuff), I should be heading back to the Upper Chindwin on October 14].   


Cave at Tikon

About an hour and a half's walk out from Tikon (see Faces of Tikon and Three Jumps to Tikon), and a little bit up one of the surrounding mountains, is a large cave. You can easily walk in for 20 to 30 meters, but after that you must crawl through dark, damp, decidedly claustrophobic, passages to access the vast interior of the cavern. I didn't actually do any crawling, but several members of the survey team did and they came back with stories of cozy, interior rooms with pots and remnants of old fires and animal bones. Wonder who used to live in here? [NOTE: And who were they hiding from?]


Police Escort

The guys in the back are being shown how to dowload a waypoint on the GPS receivers that we are loaning them. The guys in the front, the ones with the machine guns, are policemen from Leshi who walked over to Tikon (see Faces of Tikon) to make sure that we were safe while we did our inventory transects. [NOTE: Both of the policemen were extremely nice and very helpful. Still unclear as to whether they actually had bullets in their guns]. 


Three Jumps to Tikon

Open Google Earth and enter "N25.49504 E95.02445" in the Search bar. You will zoom to northern Myanmar in the Naga Self-Administered Zone (formerly Sagaing Division) and see something like the image shown above. The yellow line in the upper left is the border with India. The coordinates you entered are indicated by the little grey box.

If you zoom in a little bit, a little strip of road will come into view and a red dot that says "Tigun" will appear (see above). Note that the village is really spelled "Tikon" and that the red dot is not located near the little strip of road.

If you zoom in a few more clicks, the village of Tikon will come into surprisingly clear focus. A small village of 13 household embedded in a sea of forest. Under the grey square with the coordinates is the school house where we stayed for a week. For the next jump, go here. A bit hard to get to, but what a great place once you do.


Brushing the Line

This man did a fantastic job brushing the line during the inventory work at Tikon. I say this for two reasons. First, many of the transects went through dense stands of pyant kyein (Calamus nambariensis Becc.; shown above) with tons of spines, and opening the space was a bit prickly, to say the least. Second, he came to work both days in shorts. And was always smiley and cheerful. [NOTE: I am ready to go back to this marvelous place].


More Myanmar Growth Bands

This video by Kyaw Thin Latt from the WCS Myanmar Program was taken in the forest outside of Tikon the day we made dendrometer bands. It provides a good overview of the bands (in Burmese), documents the group of foresters, villagers, WCS staff, and policemen (with semi-automatic weapons) that went to the field that day, and shows Rob Tizard and I sharing a joke - when we probably should have been paying attention to the tree-banding. Nice job, Latt. [NOTE: I was never able to determine if the policemen actually had any bullets in their guns]. 


Technical Note

The problems that I referred to in my November 14 post (shown above) were caused by my blog platform (i.e. Squarespace) not being compatible with iOS7 (i.e. my new iPad Air). Fortunately, there is a wonderful app called Blogsy, designed specifically for the iPad, that allows you to build your posts and then port them to a number of different blogging platforms, including Squarespace (shown above in red circle). And the editor in Blogsy (also shown above) is as good, if not better, than the one in Squarespace; I especially like the linking and formatting tools. [Note: Blogsy is $4.99 in the App Store. Well worth it].


Growth Bands

Growth data is an important component of sustainable forest use, but collecting these data can be tricky for timber trees in the tropics that don't have clear growth rings. What I usually do is put dendrometer bands on the trees (see How To Make Dendrometer Bands and Selva Maya III). We went to the forest at Tikon one day to learn how to make these bands. Everybody learned how to make them, but the foresters in the group (the ones in the brown hats) really took an interest in putting the bands on the trees. I just stepped back and marveled at what good students they were.

Image above shows Kyaw Thin Latt (WCS Myanmar) scratching the zero point on the band with the tip of the caliper. We banded about fifteen trees that day. I couldn't get them to stop.




This Naga man from Tikon accompanied us to the forest the day we put growth bands on some of the timber trees (more on this later). And he brought along his handmade musket. Didn't really come across anything for him to hunt, but he was certainly ready. And he did learn how to make a dendrometer band. [NOTE: I struggled a bit to get this posted, because I'm using some new equipment now (see Colophon)


Household Interviews

Before we run inventory transects in the forest, we conduct household interviews to determine which plant resources are most important for the village and how much of each species they use/need. I call these unstructured interviews "Resource Need Assessments". In effect, we are trying to quantify the demand for different resources. Armed with this information, we then go to the forest and quantify the supply of each one.  

Image shows Gumring Jungkum (great guy) from the WCS Myanmar team conducting one of these assessments in Tikon. We have to do them at night after people come home from their fields, and they usually involve a lot of flashlight work and trying to write in the dark. This house, like most, had a warm fire going and served us hot tea. [NOTE: I am posting this from Changi airport in Singapore during an 8 hour lay-over].