AfroMont / Mt Kili Research Conference

The AfroMont-Mt Kili mountain research meeting has come and gone and was a small, but satisfying event that brought both African and European scholars together to discuss a wide range of mountain research topics. Presentations covered vegetation change on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro to mountain dung beetles, changes in the Pangani River Basin, and even the ancient lineages of endemic Lobelias in the mountains of East Africa. You should come next time – there will be something of interest that will make you think differently about Africa’s very beautiful mountains and the still vast amount of research that is needed to help us understand how they are changing. Attending the conference were new PhD students and seasoned African researchers and policy makers from Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and Germany. Scientists from other regions wanted to attend but as always, funding for conference travel was a problem. The next AfroMont conference organised for African mountain science will be in Morocco in 2019.

A set of Expanded Abstracts from the AfroMont-Mt Kili conference can be downloaded here:
Expanded Abstracts from the AfroMont-Mt Kilimanjaro Mountain Research Conference 2017
AfroMont / Mt Kilimanjaro Research Group 2017

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Delegates at the AfroMont-Mt Kili conference, 22 – 26th February, 2017. Moshi, Tanzania.

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Mt Kibo (credit Claudia Hemp). Mt Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. In this photograph, the iconic Mt Kibo (5895 m asl) is shown in its full glory.

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Street scene, Moshi. The motorbikes are an important form of local transport for hire.

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During the post-conference tour, Dr Andreas Hemp explained the finer points of the Chagga Home garden agroforestry system on the forested slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro (AfroMont-Mt Kili conference 22 – 26th February 2017).

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Chagga home gardens on slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro with banana and coffee. These homesteads are considered a form of sustainable agriculture in that large indigenous trees and the soil are protected from erosion. In some areas, this system has been in place for around 100 years.

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The post-conference tour also took us through the savanna area around Mt Kilimanjaro to visit the crater lake, Lake Challa. The savannah is very arid and degraded now, but used to be wetter and more wooded. Dr Claudia Hemp told the group that she used to collect novel grasshopper species in these localities in the past and that these species are not likely to be found here any longer. Land degradation, along with degradation through invasion by exotic plant species, is one of Africa’s biggest environmental problems.

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The lunch destination for the post conference tour was Lake Chala, a crater lake of some 300 m deep. The water is an unusual blue colour. Sediment cores have been taken from the bottom of the lake as the sediments hold a record of climate stretching back thousands of years in pollen and diatom deposits.