Field Experiments & Instrumentation / Workshops                    --- Making Things Happen ---     

Mongu, Kataba Forest Reserve (Zambia)


Miombo woodland - tree savannah

Latitude -15.44
Longitude 23.25


  • From 2007 until 2009
  • Eddy covariance
  • Meteorology



Description & History

The Miombo woodlands cover the transition zone between the dry open savannahs and moist forests in Southern Africa. Being located in sub-humid areas with a distinct dry season and having a discontinuous tree cover, they belong to the savannahs. Mean annual precipitation is commonly above 600 mm and tree cover exceeds 40%, a threshold that separates the open savannahs from the more closed woodlands. Where MAP exceeds 800 mm tree cover may be larger than 60%, the threshold for forests. Miombo woodlands occupy up to 2.7 million km2 in Southern Africa and provide many ecosystem services supporting rural life.

In all Southern African countries, Zambia given as a case study, these woodlands are experiencing accelerating degradation and clearing, through the production of charcoal being the initial driver (Kutsch, W.L. et al., 2010)

The objectives were to examine spatial and temporal variation of soil respiration along a disturbance gradient from a protected forest reserve to a cut, burned, and grazed area outside, and to relate the flux to various abiotic and biotic drivers (Merbold, L. et al., 2011).

The scaffold tower was instrumented with eddy covariance equipment in September 2007. The whole system was operated by solar power.

Variables & Instruments


  • Eddy covariance - CO2, water vapor, momentum, heat (Gill R3, LI7000)


  • Wind velocity and wind direction - 2D-ultrasonic-anemometer, Thies
  • Air pressure - pressure transmitter PTB101B, Vaisala
  • Air temperature and humidity - temperature-humidity-sensor HMP45D, Vaisala
  • Precipitation - tipping bucket rain gauge, Young
  • Solar radiation - net radiometer CNR1, Kipp & Zonen
  • Terrestrial radiation - net radiometer CNR1, Kipp & Zonen
  • Photosynthetically active radiation - PAR sensor PQS1, Kipp & Zonen

Soil conditions

  • Soil temperature - soil temperature sensors PT100, home-made
  • Soil water content in 2 profiles with 5 depths - soil moisture probes ML-2x, Delta-T

Data acquisition

  • Meteorological data - datalogger CR23X, Campbell Scientific
  • Flux data - notebook


Kutsch, W. L., et al. (2011). "The charcoal trap: Miombo forests and the energy needs of people." Carbon balance and management 6: 5-5. doi:10.1186/1750-0680-6-5

Merbold, L., et al. (2011). "Spatial and temporal variation of CO2 efflux along a disturbance gradient in a miombo woodland in Western Zambia." Biogeosciences 8(1): 147-164. doi:10.5194/bg-8-147-2011