African Mountain Research Times - July 2018
AfroMontJuly2018 image1AfroMont is a communication and networking organisation interested in researching the science-policy and science-diplomacy issues relating to African mountains and sustainable mountain development and communicating findings. Afromont also aims to highlight experiences from research, field projects and best practice in sustainable mountain development and climate change adaptation in African countries.

AfroMont now has a Facebook page, see

[Photo: SJ Taylor, December 2017. Mountain stream near central Drakensberg Amphitheatre, South Africa. These streams are important in the Tugela catchment].

Editorial - Plotting and scheming about new directions for AfroMont

Prof. Rob Marchant (MRI SLC Member and Associate Provost for Internationalisation, York University, UK) and Dr Sue Taylor (AfroMont) met up at South Africa’s Oliver Tambo Airport in June for coffee and discussions about AfroMont and potential new directions (see photo below).

Sue T and Rob M AfroMont NL July 2018AfroMont is rethinking its mandate and activities for 2019 and beyond, and is consulting with specialists who have mentored AfroMont for some years. Prof Marchant was a leading factor in the Nairobi Workshop held by AfroMont in 2013, along with Prof Willem Ferguson of the Centre for Environmental Studies at Pretoria University and Dr Saliou Niassy (AfroMont coordinator at that time).

New directions for AfroMont
There are so many areas of need, as well as of research interest, and it is an exciting challenge for AfroMont to be able to select a new strategic direction for its work. For example, the need for sustainable development in Africa’s mountains is a key topic, and one which has interested AfroMont for some time. This is an all-encompassing topic that includes many things (catchment management, biodiversity threats, human livelihoods, climate change). Other directions could include AfroMont playing a more activist role and targeting the media and policy makers, or starting up smaller research projects like a Small Mountain Assessment Programme with the aim to involve postgraduate students. All require funding and understanding donors.

Call for Papers: 'Symposium on the Impacts of Climate Change on Lake Victoria'
Kampala, Uganda, 3rd-4th December 2018
Lake Victoria is the second largest fresh water lake in the world, and it is surrounded by three East African States: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The Lake Victoria Basin, which also involves Burindi and Rwanda, is one of East Africa’s most prominent landmarks. It not only provides the headwaters of the White Nile, but is also central to the development and regional integration of the East Africa Community. 

Lake Victoria is under pressure in a variety of ways. For instance, changes in water levels increased pressures on land for agricultural use due to population growth, increased demand for water for energy generation and socio-economic development, and the growing trend of moving from rain fed agriculture to irrigation. Added to these problems are those related to climate change such as increases in surface temperature, increasing variability in rainfall patterns, intensive evaporation and changes on the hydrological regime of Lake Victoria and associated rivers.

Over the past years, a variety of climate change mitigation and adaptation projects have been undertaken across the Lake Victoria Basin. In addition, many investment projects to cope with the problems seen in the region have been performed. But even though many projects and practical initiatives on matters related to climate change are taking place across the Lake Victoria Basin today, there is a paucity of specialist events where climate change mitigation and adaptation studies and projects taking place in the Lake Victorial Basin are presented and discussed with an international audience and in an interdisciplinary way.

It is order to address this need that the 'Symposium on the Impacts of Climate Change on Lake Victoria' is being organised. The event will gather and promote information on climate change initiatives being undertaken by African and non-African organisations and scientists undertaking projects and performing research on climate change in the Lake Victoria Basin.

The experiences from the event will be helpful in COP 24 to be held in Katowice, Poland on 3rd-14th December 2018. At that event, known as 'facilitative dialogue,' countries are expected to report on progresses since Paris. This Kampala event will provide a solid basis upon which experiences on climate change mitigation and adaptation on the Lake Victoria Basin can be documented and disseminated to a wide audience. The event is organised by Makerere University (Uganda), the Hamburg University of  Applied Sciences and the International Climate Change Information Programme, in cooperation with various organisations. 

Further details can be seen at:

NOTE: Other Climate Change symposia round the world 2018 and 2019

The International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP), established in 2008, is the world´s leading programme on information, education and communication on climate change. Among other things, ICCIP runs a set of climate change symposia round the world. All inputs to ICCIP events are documented as part of the Climate Change Management Series, published with Springer, the leading peer-reviewed book series on climate change adaptation.

The forthcoming events include:
World Symposium on Climate Change and Tourism 
Bariloche, Argentina, 13th - 15th February 2019

International Symposium on Climate Change and the Role of Education
Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, UK, 
12th -13th April 2019

3rd World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation 
Akure, Nigeria, 11th-13th September 2019

Results of the Belmont Forum call in 2017 show nothing much awarded to African research consortia, other than the FARMS 4 Biodiversity - Farmer-led Agroecological Research in Malawi using Scenarios for Biodiversity project in Malawi. None of the shortlisted projects addresses mountain issues. Some African countries, like South Africa, are not eligible to apply for the Belmont Forum call, and this is a gap that would have to be negotiated at national level. 

 Belmont Afromont July 2018

Results of the joint Belmont Forum-BiodivERsA Call for proposals on biodiversity scenarios: 21 international projects recommended for funding for over 28 Million euros!
In October 2017, the Belmont Forum and BiodivERsA launched the BiodivScen joint call on “Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” with the support of the European Commission. The call covered the two following themes:
  • Development and application of scenarios of biodiversity and ecosystem services across spatial scales of relevance to multiple types of decisions; 
  • Consideration of multiple dimensions of biodiversity and ecosystem services in biodiversity scenarios.
In total, 143 pre-proposals were received by the Belmont Forum, but only 135 full proposals were ultimately evaluated, resulting in 21 shortlisted and academically excellent projects. The final projects mobilize a wide range of disciplines, engage with many relevant stakeholders, and address various pressing scientific and societal issues. The final list of funded projects will be definitely known upon national decisions by BiodivScen partners, in October 2018 (i.e., at this stage, the list presented below is a list of projects proposed for funding rather than funded for sure). More information on BiodivERsA can be found on their website. 

It is useful to see the various shortlisted projects, with countries involved (coordinators being indicated in bold) – see below.

Main list:

ACCES - De-icing of Arctic Coasts: Critical or new opportunities for marine biodiversity and Ecosystem Services? (NO, CA, DK, PL, US).

AlienScenarios - Developing and applying scenarios of biological invasions for the 21st century (AT, CA, DE, ES, FR).

ARCTIC-BIODIVER - Scenarios of freshwater biodiversity and ecosystem services in a changing Arctic (SE, CA, DK, NO, US).

BIOESSHEALTH - Scenarios for biodiversity and ecosystem services acknowledging health (SE, AT, DE, FI, NO).

BONDS - Balancing biOdiversity conservatioN with Development in Amazon wetlandS (FR, BR, DE, NO, UK, US).

ENVISION - An inclusive approach to assessing integrative scenarios and visions for protected area management (SE, DE, ES, NL, US).

FARMS 4 Biodiversity - Farmer-led Agroecological Research in Malawi using Scenarios for Biodiversity (US, CA, DE, NO).

FATE - Future ArcTic Ecosystems (FATE): drivers of diversity and future scenarios from ethno-ecology, contemporary ecology and ancient DNA (DE, CA, FI, FR, NO, SE, US).

FutureWeb - Climate and land use change threat to the vertebrate European food web structure and functioning (FR, CH, DE, FI, IT, NL, US).

InvasiBES - Understanding and managing the Impacts of INVASIve alien species on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (ES, CH, DE, FR, US).

Land2Sea – Land to Sea: Integrated modelling of consequences of terrestrial activities and climate change for freshwater and coastal marine biodiversity and ecosystem services (IR, CA, DE, SE, US).

LimnoScenES - Developing improved social-ecological scenarios for biodiversity and ecosystem service changes in north temperate freshwater ecosystems over the next half century (SE, CA, DE).

REEF-FUTURES - The futures of reef services in the Anthropocene (FR, AU, CA, CH, DE, NL, NO, SE, UK, US).

SALBES - Scenarios for Agricultural Landscapes’ Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (DE, AT, CH, EE).

SECBIVIT - Scenarios for providing multiple ecosystem services and biodiversity in viticultural landscapes (AT, DE, ES, FR, NL, RO, US).

SOMBEE - Scenarios of Marine Biodiversity and Evolution under Exploitation and climate change (FR, CA, CN, DE, ES, TR).

WILDHEALTH - How does environmental biodiversity affect wildlife health? (FI, SE, US).

Complementary waiting list:

BioDiv-support - Scenario-based decision support for policy planning and adaptation to future changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services (SE, DE, ES, FI, FR).

Future BirdScenarios - Conservation policy in a changing world: integrating citizen science data from national monitoring schemes to model impacts of global change scenarios (NO, FI, SE, US).

GloBAM - Towards monitoring, understanding and forecasting global biomass flows of aerial migrants (CH, BE, FI, NL, US).

OBServ - Open Library of Pollinator Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Scenarios (ES, AR, NL, US).

BOOK: Knowledge Sovereignty Among African Cattle Herders. See the free Download:

UCL Press has published a free to download book that may be of interest African researchers:  Knowledge Sovereignty Among African Cattle Herders. Download free here. 
Beni-Amer cattle owners in the western part of the Horn of Africa are not only masters in cattle breeding, they are also knowledge sovereign, in terms of owning productive genes of cattle and the cognitive knowledge base crucial to sustainable development. The strong bonds between the Beni-Amer, their animals, and their environment constitute the basis of their ways of knowing, and much of their knowledge system is built on experience and embedded in their cultural practices.  In this book, the first reporting on a study Beni-Amer practices, Zeremariam Fre argues for the importance of their knowledge, challenging the preconceptions that regard it as untrustworthy when compared to scientific knowledge from more developed regions. Empirical evidence suggests that there is much one could learn from the other, since elements of pastoralist technology, such as those related to animal production and husbandry, make a direct contribution to our knowledge of livestock production. It is this potential for hybridization, as well as the resilience of the herders, at the core of the indigenous knowledge system. Fre also argues that indigenous knowledge can be viewed as a stand-alone science, and that a community’s rights over ownership should be defended by government officials, development planners and policy makers, making the case for a celebration of the knowledge sovereignty of pastoralist communities.

Editor’s choice of new publications

Gonmadje C., Doumenge C., Sunderland T and McKey D (2018). Environmental filtering determines patterns of tree species composition in small mountains of Atlantic Central African forests. Acta Oecologica. 

Maes J, Parra C., Mertens K., Bwanbale B., Kervyn M (2018). Questioning network governance for disaster risk management: Lessons learnt from landslide risk management in Uganda.  Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 85, July 2018, Pages 163-171

Broeckx J., VanMaercke M., Duchateau R., Poesen J (2018). A data-based landslide susceptibility map of Africa. Earth-Science Reviews, Volume 185, October 2018, Pages 102-121

Slaymaker O., Embleton-Hamann C., (2018). Advances in global mountain geomorphology.  Geomorphology, Volume 308, 1 May 2018, Pages 230-264

Gonmadje C., Doumenge C., Sunderland T., Mckey D. (2018). Environmental filtering determines patterns of tree species composition in small mountains of Atlantic Central African forests.  Acta Oecologica, April 2018.

Abrams R.W., Abrams J.F., Abrams A.L. (2018). Climate Change Challenges for Africa. Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene, Volume 2, 2018, Pages 177-194

Maes J., Parra, C., Mertens K., Bwanbale B., Kervyn M. (2018). Questioning network governance for disaster risk management: Lessons learnt from landslide risk management in Uganda. Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 85, July 2018, Pages 163-171

Robinne et al. (2018). A spatial evaluation of global wildfire-water risks to human and natural systems.  Science of the Total Environment, Volumes 610–611, 1 January 2018, Pages 1193-1206

Mertens et al. (2018). Disaster risk reduction among households exposed to landslide hazard: A crucial role for self-efficacy?  Land Use Policy, Volume 75, June 2018, Pages 77-91

Broeckx J., Vanmaercke M., Duchateau R., Poesen J (2018). A data-based landslide susceptibility map of Africa.  Earth-Science Reviews, Volume 185, October 2018, Pages 102-121

Solomon N., Birhane E., Gordon C., Haile M., Shcefferan J. (2018). Environmental impacts and causes of conflict in the Horn of Africa: A review.  Earth-Science Reviews, Volume 177, February 2018, Pages 284-290

Arinaitwe et al. (2018). Prevalence and sources of polychlorinated biphenyls in the atmospheric environment of Lake Victoria, East Africa.  Chemosphere, Volume 193, February 2018, Pages 343-350

Jagger P., Sellers S., Kittner N., Das I., Bush G.K. (2018). Looking for Medium-term Conservation and Development Impacts of Community Management Agreements in Uganda's Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Ecological Economics, Volume 152, October 2018, Pages 199-206