Resilience in East African Landscapes: Identifying critical thresholds and sustainable trajectories – past, present and future

01 September 2013 → 31 August 2017
European funding: framework programme
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Ecology
    • Environmental science and management
    • Other environmental sciences
global sustainability ecology
Project description

The strong temporal dynamics of the East African landscape and natural-resource distributions have always encouraged people to innovate and adapt to changing conditions. However, increasing population growth, changes in patterns of land tenure, industrialization, weak systems of governance, and global climate chnage have exacerbated previously localized environmental problems such as soil erosion, depletion of water catchments, loss of forests and grazing land, falling soil fertility and biodiversity. Novel approaches for resolving these challenges are thus urgently needed. Based on the premise that the past is key to understanding the present and planning for the future, this ITN will establish a leading European training network devoted to combining state-of-the-art research methods to tap into under-appreciated knowledge of how indigenous peoples have previously adapted to East Africa's intrinsically unstable climate and land/water resources. By bringing together ecologists, archaeologists, anthropologists, geographers, historians and agronomists the ITN will provide cross-disciplinary training to a new generation of researchers, enabling them to interpret data relating to past and present socio-cultural and ecological dynamics from across the environmental and social sciences and the humanities. Organized by researchers from seven European universities in partnership with private actors, the ITN will co-operate closely with academic counterparts, private-sector stakeholders, NGOs and local communities in East Africa. It willl highlight how detailed awareness of the complex history of human-environment interaction in East Africa is central to well-founded and ecologically sustainable resource management, thereby restore the important function of indigenous know-how crucial for devising development policies and climate-risk management for specific areas, and train a new generation of future ecosystem-service managers, policy makers and entrepreneurs.