Revealing pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Kenya

June 29, 2020
WDG

Rahab Kinyanjui

USING PALAEOECOLOGICAL PROXIES TO DETERMINE ANTHROPOGENIC IMPACT ON VEGETATION DURING PRE-COLONIAL, COLONIAL AND POST-COLONIAL PERIOD IN KENYA’S HIGHLANDS-CASE STUDY ABERDARE RANGES

By Rahab KINYANJUI (National Museums of Kenya: Nairobi)

In spite of the challenges and uncertainties that the larger scientific community is currently facing, I am delighted and humbled to accept one of the British Ecological Society’s Ecologist in Africa research grant for 2020. The grant will support my historical ecology project whose main goal is to apply palaeoecological and archaeological proxies to investigate the extent of anthropogenic impacts on vegetation structure and composition of one of the Kenyan Central highlands before, during, and after the colonial period.

The Aberdare range forest provide an ideal setting for this study because they have been farmed by local populations since long before colonialism, and they were heavily impacted during colonial times because of their fertile soils. This pilot project aims to reveal the land-use and land-cover dynamics of the Aberdare range forest, and it is hoped that eventually similar studies will be undertaken in other parts of the Kenyan highland forests.

In the news:

Jonathan Amos (2016) ‘Case is made’ for Anthropogenic Epoch. BBC News: Science & Environment.

Scientific publications:

Sarmiento, F.O. (2002) Anthropogenic change in the landscapes of highland Ecuador. Geographical Review 92, 213-234. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2002.tb00005.x

Swindles, G.T., Lamentowicz, M., Reczuga, M. & Galloway, J.M. (online)  Palaeoecology of testate amoebae in a tropical peatland. European Journal of Protistology. doi: 10.1016/j.ejop.2015.10.002

Tellkamp, M.P. (2014) Habitat change and trade explain the bird assemblage from the La Chimba archaeological site in the northeastern Andes of Ecuador. Ibis 156, 812-825. doi: 10.1111/ibi.12179

Waters, C.N., Zalasiewicz, J., Summerhayes, C., Barnosky, A.D., Poirier, C., Galuszka, A., Cearreta, A., Edgeworth, M., Ellis, E.C., Ellis, M., Jeandel, C., Leinfelder, R., McNeill, J.R., Richter, D.d., Steffen, W., Syvitski, J., Vidas, D., Wagreich, M., Williams, M., Zhisheng, A., Grinevald, J., Odada, E., Oreskes, N. & Wolfe, A.P. (2016) The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene. Science 351, . doi: 10.1126/science.aad2622

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