The NMFP was established in 2005 with the aims of: • Combining scientific research with community education at both tertiary and local community level in order to develop long-term sustainable management of Nigeria’s montane forests. • Facilitating the involvement of national and international researchers in Nigerian montane forest research • Involving the community in the management of montane forest ecosystems • Working with the community in other ways, such as developing small businesses and working with schools to develop conservation awareness by developing community education.
Since then, over 30 postgraduate students have done their fieldwork with the Project. The model has been for students to enrol at UC in New Zealand with fieldwork in Nigeria. See publications and people. This model has worked exceptionally well but currently, it is only Nigerian nationals who are able to travel to work in the field in Nigeria.
The field station is, however, as active as ever. My lab is in daily contact with the science manager Elisha Emmanuel and manager, Misa Zubairu. Experiments into forest restoration and pollination are on-going with the 30+ staff working on a daily basis. Undergraduate biology and wildlife management students from Nigerian universities regularly spend six months at the station, working alongside the Elisha and the field assistants. This is part of their IT ‘industrial training’, a prerequisite for graduating. Each student also runs their own research project. For international postgraduate students interested in working on samples from the field (such as leaf samples for population genetics) the option remains open.
The kind of research my postgraduate students, collaborators, and I do is wide-ranging; all with a focus on understanding the ecology of Afromontane forests in order to promote their conservation and management. Projects include forest restoration, investigating the role of the African giant pouched rat (Crisetomys sp. nov) in dispersing large seeds, sunbird pollination networks, and more recently, insect pollination with a focus on honey bees.