It was a warm afternoon in the Liwonde Forest Reserve in southern Malawi, and I was with a team of botanists and foresters, field‐testing a methodology for rapid botanical surveys. We would be using this methodology in our consulting work for the Shire River Basin Management Program, funded by the World Bank through a grant to the Malawi Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development. In addition to the botanical surveys, we were conducting studies on globally rare plants, birds, butterflies, large mammals, and the condition of the tropical forests and woodlands in the basin. Our goal was to bring updated scientific knowledge about the relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and ecosystem services to bear on the goals of the overall program.
Another typical day in the life of an ecological consultant? Well, not really. Ecological consulting usually requires a range of skills, and any given day might involve doing background research online, interviewing key informants, meeting with communities, conducting field surveys or site visits, writing reports, or making presentations.
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