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Launched in 2005 as a Marie-Curie Excellence Centre, the KITE group investigates ecosystem dynamics in the moist forests, savannah-woodland spectrums and cropland mosaics of Eastern and Southern Africa.

Through genetic sequencing, palaeoecological reconstruction, contemporary mapping, modelling and scenario development, we aim to better understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of tropical ecosystems, their societal value and challenges to their conservation.

Photographs across the ranges of KITE research projects can be accessed on website:



Why we explored an undisturbed rainforest hidden on top of an African mountain

In a recent piece for The Conversation, KITE's Phil Platts and collaborator Simon Willcox talk about their recent expedition into a hidden rainforest in Atop Mount Lico in northern Mozambique, where they thought they were first people to have ever visited...

"The death of these oldest and largest baobab trees is very sad, but hopefully the news will motivate us to protect the world’s remaining large baobabs and start a process of close monitoring of their health."

Comment on the Dying African Baobabs

KITE member, , was asked to comment last week after it was disclosed that some of Africa's largest and oldest Baobab trees died rather suddenly. Aida's pices can be found here:

'Key paper for next two decades'

The newly-published article Drivers and trajectories of land cover change in East Africa: Human and environmental interactions from 6000 years ago to present in Earth-Science Reviews provides a valuable synthesis of both past and current archaeological and palaeoecological research that has been undertaken in East Africa. 

The massive undertaking was led by Rob Marchant and the KITE team, but has only been possible because of a wider team effort by 50 co-authors contributing text, data and images to the synthesis. Reviewer comments suggest that the paper 'gives an impressive and authoritive overview' and 'expected to be a key paper for the next two decades'.

The article can be downloaded for free until 15th April 2018. After this time, please contact us for copy. 

Dipole: the ‘Indian Niño’ that has brought devastating drought to East Africa

Rob Marchant explains the climate phenomenon on The Conversation.

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Grains of Truth

A new film explores climate change, people, East Africa and archaeology - take a look. The film was made in collaboration between KITE researchers, the AAREA project and Ambient Cinema.

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KITE news

Work has begun on a new project Fishing for the Future (F4F) in the Gulf of Guinea, to understand how changing climate and environmental pollution are likely to affect the Oyster fisheries and many womens livelihood.


Aida Cuni Sanchez's interview about cloud forests in the Comoros was used in  the New York Times 

Aida Cuni Sanchez was involved in a study published in "Nature" showing that the ability of the worlds tropical forests to remove carbon from the atmosphere is decreasing. An international team of researchers tracked 300,000 trees in more than 500 forest patches in Africa and the Amazon for over 30 years. 

Project launch of "PURE, Peri-Urban Resilient Ecosystems" on 28th January 2020, a project involving NUST, UNAM Namibian Housing Action Group, University of Cape Town, University of York, University of Winchester, ICLEI Africa, and the Stockholm Environment Institute-York. The project is funded by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund and aims to support climate resilient strategies in Windhoek SA.

The York Talks held on 8 January are now available to view online. Rob Marchant spoke on "The Mountains and people of Africa: creating a more sustainable future from the ground up". 

Congratulations go to Dr Edem Mahu, University of Ghana,  who has been offered a FLAIR scholarship for the project "Fishing for the future: sustaining livelihoods through gender sensitive climate risk assessment of brackish water shellfisheries in the Gulf of Ghana".

Dr J KIrschner is involved with a new  project in Mozambique,  "Building resilience to climate shocks, and improving energy infrastructure for economic development and well being".

Hamidu Seki, a PhD student under the Commonwealth Scholarship attended a three day workshop exploring the role of young leaders in building social cohesion and their active involvement in decision making on different government levels.

Exhibition 8th November "Pastoralists under Pressure"

On Friday 8th November JB Morell Library York, there will be an exhibition, talk and panel debate from 6.30pm.

Rebecca Newman and Georgia De Jong Cleyndert held workshops in Kinyasini, Zanzibar, and are  now analysing community level data to assess the impacts of climate change on societies and livelihoods.

Photographs  from across the ranges of KITE research projects can be accessed via a new Flickr account..........

There is now a wider @York network that forms a hub for Africanist research at the University of York, connecting more than 100 researchers working on diverse issues in more than 80% of African countries.


Robert Marchant's article "Observation of an adult female Oribi with Leucistic pelage in Lobo, Serengeti National Park Tanzania, has been published in the African Journal Of Ecology.‌

Tropical montane cloud forest study

New paleo directions explored in a study of the sensitivity of tropical montane cloud forest to climate change, present past and future: Mt. Marsabit, N. Kenya.

New policy brief in Swahili (PDF , 584kb) and  on the application of the KESHO scenario tool across a number of projects in Eastern Africa from Natioanl Parks to railways, from mountains to coasts

New project with the White Rose University Consortium

Rob Marchant is one of lead academics on the new project 'Refugia of Futures Past' which is initiating a long-term interdisciplinary collaboration to explore the baseline conditions for Earth habitability under long-term future global environmental change to influence adaptation, research, policy, and practice. More information can be found in the pages.

Comment on the dying baobabs

comments on the recent news story about the death of some of Africa's oldest baobab trees. Read the full article here.

New publication out! 

'Rangeland Livelihood Strategies under Varying Climate Regimes: Model Insights from Southern Kenya' by KITE members Rebecca Kariuki and Rob Marchant has just been published in Land. It can be downloaded here

Key publication now online

'Drivers and trajectories of land cover change in East Africa: Human and environmental interactions from 6000 years ago to present' by KITE team members in Earth-Science Reviews is available for free download until 15th April.

New policy briefs out!

Produced by KITE members involved with the AFERIA project. See  for more info.

Have you ever heard of cloud shepherds? Find out more about them by watching Aida Cuní Sanchez's film, featured here.

New KITE publication out in PAGES magazine!

See  for more info.

REAL project members run workshop in Amboseli on Resilient Ecology of East African Landscapes.‌‌

New policy briefs out!

Produced by KITE members involved with the AFERIA project. See for more info.

Rob Marchant interviewed for Climate News Network

on 'Climate cycle fuels famine in East Africa'

KITE Projects

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