[Mastwatch] Casual observations at Gunung Palung

Cam Webb cwebb at oeb.harvard.edu
Fri Aug 12 00:29:56 PDT 2011

Dear Serge, All,

> I also have a question. With all the mast info from casual observations 
> and phenology datasets I was wondering whether there is a sense in 
> putting all of this in a database that is or is not spatially explicit 
> and perhaps do some analyses on it. It would still be nice to understand 
> more about masting and where it occurs and how synchronous it is over 
> larger areas or what time-shifts are between areas. I have no idea how 
> much data there are, but it might be something to try to do together?

To develop a common source of spatially explicit masting information was 
the reason we started mastwatch in ca. 2002.  Mastwatch was originally a 
community editable database of observations (see below for original site:



).  A few observations were contributed, including a large dump of data 
from Shinya Numata's 2003 AJB paper, but mastwatch as a database wasn't a 
great solution for social reasons (not much fun to participate in!).  In 
2007, I switched it to this mailing list, and we have now accumulated a 
good set of observations over the past four and a half years (see


for the (public) list archives.  An email is easier to contribute than 
formatted data, and more fun to read, but it is less likely that a free 
text email will contain complete information for an analysis.  The other 
obvious problem with using these data for analysis is that the data points 
are very spatially skewed to sites where people have heard of this 
project, and have some incentive to contribute observations.  A much 
better strategy for the future would be to identify 15-20 sites where 
there are people we know who are on email and are in the forest on a 
regular basis, and who would respond to a request for masting observations 
every 3-4 months. Anyone interested/have time to pursue this?

All this said, it would be great if someone wanted to go back through the 
archives and wrangle the observations into a tabular format. Even if the 
patterns emerging were not that satisfying, someone could still write up a 
short paper with the data we do have simply to publicize the project and 
recruit more observers.

Any other ideas on good ways to move forward with this project, other
than in its current form, which I hope will continue for years more.  And 
thanks to everyone for sharing their masting news.  I for one really enjoy 
reading these live `forest news bulletins.'

Best wishes from West Kalimantan,


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