The Africa Center Newsroom

Hybrid seeds are growing in popularity as they offer higher potential yields under good conditions.  However, as local climate regimes become more variable and unpredictable, local farmers in Zimbabwe are opting for traditional crop varieties. Some farmers believe that these more traditional varieties enhance resilience under unpredictable conditions by increasing crop diversity and food variety throughout the year.  Still, agricultural scientists consider hybrid varieties the better choice in terms of overall productivity and market integration potential.  

Robin Reid recently published her book entitled Savannas of Our Birth.  The book is a compelling story of the role that East African savannas played in shaping human evolution and the current state of human-environmental interactions in these drylands under global environmental change, population growth, and globalization.    Among many other topics, she addresses the notion that herding is often compatible with wildlife, and that pastoral land use sometimes enriches savanna landscapes and encourages biodiversity. Congratulations on your achievement Robin!

The Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) is an interdisciplinary center that studies individual and group decision making under climate uncertainty and decision making in the face of environmental risk. They recently made a great video introducing the team and their contributions to understanding the decisions that we make in regards to global environmental change.  Watch the video here

A massive aquifer that holds enough water to meet all of Kenya's needs for 70 years has been discovered in the Turkana district of northwest Kenya. Satellite imagery and seismic data were used to discover the  Lotikipi Basin Aquifer, which contains 900% more water than the current reserves in the country and offers a prosperous future for local residents.  

It is wondrous how the threat of climate change, a clear sign of the excesses and limitations of advanced economies, could ever become a driver of grand visions of progress in the developing world. But that is precisely at the root of a phenomenon that is ushering in a transformation of African agriculture.

Drylands across the developed and developing world are experiencing increases in water scarcity, drought frequency, and temperatures as a result of global climate change. This affects people on a daily basis.  Still, the U.S. has not taken significant action to tackle climate change issues, even though it has contributed the most carbon dioxide per capita than any other country.  See what our fellow SAES member, Kathleen Galvin, has to say in her call to action on climate change.  

For many years, Maasai pastoralists had resisted government pressure to reduce the size of their herds.  However, the loss of more than half their livestock in the 2009 drought has led Maasai pastoralists in northern Tanzania’s Arusha region to breed fewer, stronger cattle and end their traditional focus on numbers alone as symbols of wealth and status.

The Africa Center members, Robin Reid and Kathleen Galvin, have recently received the 2012 Ecological Society of America Sustainability Science Award for their collaborative paper, “Evolution of models to support community and policy action with science: Balancing pastoral livelihoods and wildlife conservation in savannas of East Africa.”  The paper is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Congratulations Robin and Kathy!

Kathleen Galvin, who is a CSU professor of anthropology, senior research scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, and Director for Education programs at the CSU School of Global Environmental Sustainability, has been invited by the president of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) to sit on a new Global Climate Change Task Force. The task force has been developed to help increase communication, provide a forum for engagement and highlight anthropological contributions to climate change policy. 

Two Colorado State University researchers are launching a research project that will ultimately help Maasai livestock herders in Kenya adapt to impacts from climate change.