"Cloud Chasers II" is a follow-up to the January 2023 "Cloud Chasers I" project, aiming to explore the impact of a cloud forest canopy on the Mestela River Catchment and its associated stakeholders. Our primary research question is: "To what extent does the presence of a cloud forest canopy impact the Mestela River Catchment, and how will this affect the various involved stakeholders?"
To address this question, we established a long-term measurement station within the grounds of the Community Cloud Forest Conservation. This station allows us to monitor crucial parameters like throughfall, stemflow, fog interception, and ground soil moisture content. Complementing this data, we integrated information from a local weather station and measured Mestela River discharge to initiate the construction of a hydrological model (Flex-topo model). This model simulates the water discharge of the Mestela River, enabling us to run different scenarios and calculate various fluxes within the Mestela River Catchment. This, in turn, helps illustrate the critical role of the cloud forest in the ecosystem.
In tandem with this research, we conducted qualitative interviews for cloud forest stakeholder management. These interviews served to identify challenges and strategies. Subsequent data analysis allowed us to categorize and establish connections between these insights. Our overarching goal is to formulate effective stakeholder management strategies tailored to the CCFC and translate these strategies into actionable initiatives. These efforts aim to benefit both CCFC and the involved stakeholders by enhancing their engagement and understanding of the cloud forest's significance. One example of a bottom-up intervention is that we are currently working on a children’s comic book to show the importance of the cloud forest and distribute this in local communities.