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Miombo matters

Miombo matters

Notes and queries about land system science, with a bias towards the southern African woodlands. This is the blog for Casey Ryan and the LANDteam research group at the University of Edinburgh

… quite a lot actually. Good and bad. But you can add reducing carbon emissions from degradation to the list. New paper by Iain McNicol here. Importantly, they seem to work just fine from a carbon perspective even when  people are allowed to use the land. So these don’t have to be strictly protected areas to […]

We have an article out in Science, trying to lay out the inherent challenges of quantifying forest carbon offsets, and arguing that much monitoring effort if essentially pointless – it is false precision. And the costs that this pointless measurement entails fall on those least able to bear them, and detracts from real climate action. Summary […]

Our PNAS paper is just out, with a splashy infographic too: Paper here: Infographic: BBC write up:    It’s quite a dense paper – there’s about 30 years of work by the Land System Science community condensed in there – here’s the abstract:   “Land use is central to addressing sustainability issues, […]

This is just out in PNAS, and shows that African savannas have a very distinct tree flora compared to nearby forests, based on a huge dataset of floristic inventories. This provides a new line of evidence that savannas and forests are alternative states in many climatic and edaphic conditions. Why does that matter? Well, if […]

charcoal truck impounded in Gaza, Mozambique

by the CwC team We have reported in previous blog posts on setting up our research project ‘Livelihood impacts of coping with Coronavirus in rural Africa’ (CwC), the ethical and methodological metamorphoses required, and some initial findings of many of our interviewees are anticipating a difficult year ahead.  Now, our research team has collected up […]

By the CwC team Por favor veja abaixo um sumário em português As we reported in our first project blog post, we have been setting up our research project on ‘Livelihood impacts of Coping with Covid-19 in rural Africa’ (CwC). We have been following principles including building on established partnerships, co-creating knowledge based on equity, […]

CwC materials

Materials being delivered to the CwC study communities in southern Mozambique. The sewing machines and capalanas are for making masks. Photo © Luis Artur, 2020. By the CwC team Resumo em português abaixo As we reported in our first project blog post, we have been setting up the first phase of our research project on […]

CwC village meeting in action

Socially distanced village meeting to set up the CwC project in central Mozambique. Photo: A. Kingman, MICAIA Reposted from the blog at SIID By the CwC team. A group of researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh (Scotland), Sheffield and Manchester (UK) and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane(Mozambique) as well as the MICAIA foundation collaborated on a […]

tree nursery in Nhambita

New paper just out: Wells G, Fisher J, Jindal R, Ryan C. 2020. Social as much as environmental: the drivers of tree biomass in smallholder forest landscape restoration programmes. Environmental Research Letters. Open access at: A major challenge for forest landscape restoration initiatives is the lack of quantitative evidence on how social factors drive […]

There is conflicting evidence in the literature about how important wild land resources are during times of crisis (shocks like harvest failure, loss of household labour etc). This paper just out shows that they can be very important, particularly when the shocks co-occur with other crises.   Environmental resources are also critical when region-wide hazards […]


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