By Gary Thomas
Researchers at the University of York will take part in a new research and development project called the Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa (CHIESA) in order to explore the effects of climate change in Jimma Highlands in Ethiopia, Taita Hills in Kenya, and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology will coordinate CHIESA, which will handle the issues and effects of climate change and unpredictability on economic prosperity, livelihoods and food security across mountain ecosystems. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland provides funding for the four-year project.
The University of York’s Dr Rob Marchant will head a team evaluating the climate change effects on habitats and biodiversity, one of the six fields of the study under the project. The team will develop regional modeling expertise and create predictive models to assess the climate change effects on livelihoods and ecosystem services.
In partnership with several Ethiopian, Kenyan, and Tanzanian governmental and non-governmental organizations, the project will set up automatic weather stations in the Jimma Highlands, the Taita Hills and Mount Kilimanjaro. The initiative together with its partners, Sokoine University of Agriculture, the University of Dar es Salaam, and University of Helsinki, will develop capacity of Kenyan, Ethiopian and Tanzanian organizations to handle climate change research and development challenges.
The CHIESA partners will assess the opinions of farmers on the impact of climatic conditions and changeability. They will then relate this assessment to scientific data to set up local monitoring systems to lower risks and encourage resilient, sustainable agriculture. A major objective of CHIESA is to cooperate with Ethiopian, Kenyan, and Tanzanian stakeholders to provide highly efficient sustainable solutions to communities of the East African highlands to handle the climate change effects.