SUSTAINABILITY IN AFRICAN DRYLANDS
My main research interests revolve around semi-arid ecosystems and traditional pastoralist societies that rely upon them. My approach to these social-ecological systems began with my doctoral research (Population Biology, UC Davis) in the field of restoration ecology, where I examined the utility of planting native aloe shrubs into degraded Kenyan rangelands to promote vegetation recovery. Since then, I have continued to work on community-based rangeland restoration projects in Kenya, as well as studying the spatial and ecohydrological dynamics of land degradation and restoration. I am also keenly interested in the social and policy sides of land degradation and land tenure. I believe that integrating biophysical research with investigations into human dimensions of common pool resource management is essential to promoting pastoralist sustainability. This approach to sustainability science is at the heart of my research and teaching interests.
I collaborate with academic researchers, practitioners, and graduate students on projects ranging from ecohydrology, to landscape-herbivore interactions, to human ecology and resource management. Our research is largely based on communally-owned group ranches in northern Laikipia County, Kenya. The region is home to the Laikipia Maasai people, lots of charismatic megafauna and stunning landscapes.