East African Mountains: past, present, future changes and challenges

East African Mountains: past, present, future changes and challenges

Organizers: Esther Githumbi, Robert Marchant, & Rahab Kinyanjui

As palaeoecology moves from a descriptive to an interpretative perspective, so does the potential to contribute to numerous other biogeography disciplines and contemporary issues such as biodiversity conservation and sustainability. As concepts of sustainability and resilience underpin many of the future challenges, the deep temporal perspective that palaeoecology can provide is crucial. However, there are multiple challenges to forge the link between palaeoecology and application! One of the key challenges requires an interdisciplinary approach to understand the interplay, trade-offs and complexities of competing human and biological drivers. Scenario tools are also needed that can define realistic futures and connect to the palaeoecology insights over spatial and temporal scale to inform ecosystem management in a rapidly changing world.

We present an overview of palaeoecological research of East African mountain ecosystems with some case studies from Kenya to demonstrate how these perspectives can be useful to inform current and future ecological and environmental challenges.


  • Dr. Esther Githumbi (Lund University, Lund, Sweden): Palaeoecological research on Mau forest giving an insight on the vegetation history over the past millenia and highlighting the importance and challenges in the Mau
  • Dr. Rahab Kinyanjui (National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya): Research on Kilimanjaro emphasizing the linkage of human activities/land-use to vegetation change in the highlands which has formed a baseline for a new research project on the Aberdare ranges using a similar approach but in Anthropocene period
  • Prof. Rob Marchant (University of York, UK) General perspectives from a series of studies across the region and pick up the themes of shrinking forests, transformed ecosystem services, highland lowland connections, impacts on water resources and future challenges and opportunities

September 18 @ 15:00
15:00 — 17:00 (2h)

Africa, Europe, Kenya, Sweden, UK

Esther Githumbi, Rahab Kinyanjui, Robert Marchant