AFQUA: The African Quaternary environments, ecology and humans
2ndInternational Conference and Workshops
14-22 July 2018-07-15 National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya
The final day of talks at AFQUA 2018 took a more applied approach in the first session “Applying the Quaternary: The role of the past in supporting the future”. This session focused on how we can focus Quaternary science to produce outputs that directly meet concerns and needs of society. Examples included the quantification of the fossil charcoal record to provide insights into the nature and impact of fires in the past (C. Adolf), how we can use information on past vegetation change and disturbance factors to anticipate how ecosystems on Madagascar might respond to future changes (E. Razanatsoa), and how climate histories can be extended through tree ring data (D. Colombaroli).
The plenary lecture to take us up to lunch was from Dr. Daniel Olago from the University of Nairobi who highlighted long-term planning by the Kenyan government with their “Kenya Vision 2030” initiative. This vision seeks to provide a long term perspective for Kenya relative to the shorter term political cycle and specifically seeks to address concerns related to forests, wetlands, rivers and aquifers; in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 15.
After the lunch break we resumed with a session on “African palaeoecology and archaeology perspectives on landuse transformations”. Linked to the Past Global Changes (PAGES) Landcover6k working group the session included a broad ranging update on the East African section (R. Marchant) and some exciting advances in modelling past landcover and landuse (L. Phelps).
The final session of the day, and indeed the conference, focued on “Dating and correlation of African archive of environmental change and archaeology”. The session was kicked off with a exposition on the merits of using a baysean approach to construct chronologies (M. Blaauw), was followed by dating erosive episodes in dongas (aka gullies) (D. Colarossi), and contained revalations on the dating of ostrich egg shells using U-Th burial dating techniques (E.M. Niespolo).
Over the next three days AFQUA 2018 will break up into many workshops. I will attend the “Lake Victoria” drilling project (organised by Prof. Tom Johnson), and “Palaeofire” reconstruction (organised by PAGES Global Paleofire) meetings… should be fun!