CHIESA activities focus on three mountain ecosystems in Eastern Africa, namely Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the Taita Hills in Kenya and Jimma Highlands in Ethiopia. These mountain ecosystems share important ecosystem functions and service values arising from:
1. Water towers providing water resources and supporting food production for the low lying areas
2. Forests which are important habitats for many endemic flora and fauna species
3. Places for recreation and eco-tourism.
The study areas represent samples of the agriculture-forest mosaics where four selected target crops (maize, crucifers, avocado and coffee) can be studied on farms with various scales of agricultural intensity, environmental settings and altitudinal gradients.
The high human population density and growth increases resource competition between agriculture, forestry and biodiversity conservation. Ecosystem services and food security in the target areas are at risk due to the short and long term impacts of climate variability and change.
Results and outputs from these three target areas will be disseminated to other projects, organizations and stakeholders working on climate change adaptation in other areas in Eastern Africa to support their goals.
The Taita Hills are located in the Coast Province of Kenya. The 20-kilometer long research transect runs from Mwatate (890 meters above sea level) to Vuria (2200 meters above sea level). The target crops studied there include avocado, crucifers and maize.
The research transect in the South-East slope of Mount Kilimanjaro runs from Kirua Vunjo (1690 meters above sea level) to Miwaleni (700 meters above sea level). Like in Taita Hills, all four target crops are studied there.
Jimma Highlands are located in Oromiya Province in South-West Ethiopia. The research transect reaches from Ageyo (1560 meters above sea level) to the Kofele Forest (2200 meters above sea level). Coffee is the main crop studied in the area.