A kick-off day was held at the 7th March at the National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, with representatives of all institutions and stakeholders involved in this activity. The director of the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD Nairobi, Dr. Blumbach, as well as the director of Zoology Department of the National Museums of Kenya, Dr. Mwachala, kindly attended this opening meeting.
This kick-off day was initiated to inform other thematically related institutions and scientists about this new activity which will take place across Kenya during the next four years (2016-2019). Some of the participants represented institutions which might be potential future collaboration partners – like Nature Kenya and other NGOs, or the Kenyan Forest Service and other GOs. This project includes three regions with three different forest types, all of them being under extreme environmental stress: The riparian forests in the semi-arid Ukambani region in south-eastern Kenya, the Arabuko Sokoke coastal forest close to Kilifi, and the Taita Hills cloud forest at an elevation of 2000m. Three adjoining universities and one university college create the national network within Kenya, including the South Eastern Kenya University SEKU, Pwani University PU, and Taita Taveta University College TTUC; the international network will be completed by the Technical University Munich, Germany. The National Museums of Kenya represents an additional valuable partner, in particular for successful institutional networking and for effectual field work. The following five working packages will shape the transdiscipliary research and teaching framework:
Animal ecology (mainly movement ecology on bird species and butterflies)
Vegetation ecology (species composition along transects)
Rapid Ecosystem Function Assessment (REFA) (plot-wise)
Land cover (change) detection (using an unmanned aerial vehicle, quatrocopter)
Social sciences (questionnaires with farmers and expert interviews to identify human livelihood needs)
The complete programme of the kick-off day is provided here.