Integrating diverse methods to understand climate-land interactions in East Africa


Olson, Jennifer; Alagarswamy, Gopal; Andresen, Jeffrey; Campbell, David; Davis, Amelie; Ge, Jianjun; Huebner, Marianne; Lofgren, Brent M.; Lusch, David P.; Moore, Nathan J.; Pijanowski, Bryan; Qi, Jiaguo; Thornton, Philip; Torbick, Nathen; Wang, Jing

Journal or Book Title: Geoforum

Keywords: Climate change; Land use; Africa; Modeling; Biocomplexity; Human-environment interaction

Volume/Issue: 39

Page Number(s): 898-911

Year Published: 2008


The questions of how land use change affects climate, and how climate change affects land use, require examination of societal and environmental systems across space at multiple scales, from the global climate to regional vegetative dynamics to local decision making by farmers and herders. It also requires an analysis of causal linkages and feedback loops between systems. These questions and the conceptual approach of the research design of the Climate-Land Interaction Project (CLIP) are rooted in the classical human-environment research tradition in Geography. This paper discusses a methodological framework to quantify the two-way interactions between land use and regional climate systems, using ongoing work by a team of multi-disciplinary scientists examining climate-land dynamics at multiple scales in East Africa. East Africa is a region that is undergoing rapid land use change, where changes in climate would have serious consequences for peoples livelihoods, and requiring new coping and land use strategies. The research involves exploration of linkages between two important foci of global change research, namely, land use/land cover (LULC) and climate change. These linkages are examined through modeling agricultural systems, land use driving forces and patterns, the physical properties of land cover, and the regional climate. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are being used to illustrate a diverse pluralism in scientific discovery.

DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2007.03.011

Type of Publication: Journal Article