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Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 - "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies"

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Spatio-temporal variability in the environment and mobility characterizes socio-ecological systems in large regions of tropical Africa, especially in savanna ecosystems


Research Team

  • Prof. Dr. Steve Higgins, Plant Ecology, University of Bayreuth
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Doevenspeck, Political Geography, University of Bayreuth
  • Prof. Dr. Cyrus Samimi, Climatology, University of Bayreuth
  • Dr. Qirui Li, Postdoc, University of Bayreuth
  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Ouma, Economic Geography, University of Bayreuth
  • Dr. James Gambiza, Rhodes University
  • Prof. Wayne Twine, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Prof. Coleen Vogel, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Prof. HeilaLotz-Sisitka, Rhodes University

Summary

In rural areas, people have adapted to climatic variability with mobility as a livelihood strategy. While land tenure systems introduced during the colonial times restrict mobility, climate change and economic drivers are likely to increase the need for mobility. The extent to which people adapt to economic, cultural and climate change through movement will have consequences for practices of resource valorization (the practice of transforming nature into objects with market values) and redistribution, recalibrating questions of sustainability in these socio-ecological systems. Therefore, there is a need to understand the complex interactions of ecological, social, economic and cultural factors, quantitatively and qualitatively.

The project will investigate the patterns of movement and processes of mobility, and explore their interactions with climatic variations, environmental processes, and cultural and socio-economic drivers. To do so, quantitative models will be developed for analysis at a regional scale by using historical data and projections. The derived results will be discussed and adjusted for analysis at a local scale by multiple stakeholders during citizen workshops and transdisciplinary meetings. The technocratic and indigenous knowledge will be integrated to improve the conceptualization and parameterization of models and facilitate the understanding of sustainability in savanna socio-ecological systems within certain climatic, cultural and economic scenarios


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