Posted on 1 May 2006
KITE's research will explore past, present and future changes in ecosystems at a number of sites in Kenya and Tanzania, in an area regarded as one of the world's hotspots of plant and animal biodiversity.
The research will help agencies across the world to improve forecasting of the impact of climate variability on agriculture, ecosystem functioning and health, and will lead to an increased scientific understanding of land use and environmental conservation under a changing climate.
More will be learned about the inter-relationships between high (European) and lower latitudes - and how changes in tropical areas can influence ocean circulation patterns, control greenhouse gas emissions and impact on global carbon budgets."KITE researchers will reconstruct past environments to help us to understand ecosystem response to
climate dynamics in a biologically important and sensitive region." said Dr Rob Marchant, a member of the research group, "The research area will yield better understanding of the global implications of climate change and ecosystem response."
The team has already made a major contribution to the world's largest database of African plant distribution maps and written a computer programme to study plant responses to climate change. As well as being predicted to suffer most from the effects of global warming, Africa produces about a half of the world's airborne dust which affects the climate everywhere.
The project will help Europe to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Dr Jon Lovett is a senior lecturer in the Environment Department
Dr Rob Marchant is a senior lecturer in the Environment Department
Dr Colin McClean is a senior lecture in the Environment Department