The goal of the 2012 scientific expedition to the Island of Madang in Papua New Guinea was to conduct a biodiversity inventory (insects, plants, trees…), to collect epiphyte plants, and to compare different altitude zones. Two arborist-climbers participated in the expedition, Noui Baiben and Laurent Pierron.

 

© Laurent Pierron - MNHN - PNI - IRD

In 2012, Laurent Pierron (Three-time French national tree-climbing champion) and Jérémie Thomas combined their professional tree-climbing skills and their arboricultural knowledge to offer services to various stakeholders in order to encourage taking an approach to trees in their specific environments. They created a non-profit association called "EnQuête d'Arbres" (Researching Trees), which today brings together arborist-climbers from around the world. Their goal is to climb the biggest trees on the planet and more importantly to serve as a link between arborists and scientists who study trees and life in the forest canopy.

The association participates in expeditions. The arborists help scientists (botanists or entomologists) by installing the necessary equipment to gain views from up high, by helping to collect samples (seeds, flowers, and fruits), and by setting up insect traps. Accessing the tops of the big trees in the humid tropical environment is not easy. Exploring the forest canopy requires a great deal of experience as well as solid teamwork. It is also an opportunity for arborists, who often work 50 meters above the ground, to improve their climbing techniques.

These encounters between field specialists, in a natural environment to study biodiversity together, are dually enriching. On the one hand arborists, who spend their professional lives in the trees, are incredible observers. Their assistance is essential for scientists. On the other hand scientists share their discoveries, providing arborists with enhanced knowledge that they will be able to utilize and pass along in order to be more productive.

 

 

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