Ecosystem Management Support for Climate Change in Southern Africa


EMSAfrica is an interdisciplinary research project based on collaboration between scientists in Germany and Southern Africa. Our aim is to develop scientific information to support decision-making in Southern Africa concerning climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the sustainable management of ecosystems.

Southern African ecosystems are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Apart from increasing temperatures, the area is experiencing changes in rainfall patterns, increased frequency of extreme weather phenomena and fire occurrence. Increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere affect the interactions between different plant groups.

At the same time, most ecosystems are under strong human impact through livestock grazing, fuelwood collection, cultivation, urbanization and the spreading of invasive alien species. As a result, the ecosystems are changing rapidly - with major impacts on biodiversity and human well-being.

The complexity of climate-management interactions requires a scientific approach that combines several disciplines and observations at a range of scales.

The EMSAfrica consortium benefits from the expertise of five German partner institutions and ten Southern African collaborators. This way, we can combine different scientific disciplines and approaches, including direct greenhouse gas measurements, remote sensing, vegetation modelling, plant ecophysiological measurements, socioeconomic surveys and computer-based simulation models.




The aims of the project are:

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EMSAfrica follows up and continues on similar themes as our previous project ARS AfricaE (Adaptive Resilience in Southern African Ecosystems, 08/2014-01/2018). It is a collaboration of five German partner institutions and nine South African collaborating institutions (see People). It is a three-year project, funded by the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) via the programme SPACES (Science Partnerships for the Adaptation/Adjustment to Complex Earth System Processes in Southern Africa) under the FONA (Research for Sustainable Development) framework. We also acknowledge the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) for additional funding.

Contact: Project coordinator Mari Bieri (mari.bieri@thuenen.de)

Research Gate project site