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March 2017 – Higher Education Institutional Cooperation Instrument funding for TAITAGIS

Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has decided to fund TAITAGIS project (Improving capacity, quality and access of Geoinformatics teaching, research and daily application in Taita Taveta County, Kenya) for the Department of Geosciences and Geography of the University of Helsinki for 2017-2020. The aim of the project is together with Taita Taveta University (TTU) to build up a master programme in geoinformatics at the TTU. The programme will strengthen the cooperation between Taita Research Station and TTU and build capacity for the development of Taita Taveta County.

February 2017 – Olari and Tapiola High Schools visiting Taita Research Station

A school group from Olari and Tapiola high schools of Espoo, Finland visited the Taita Research Station as part of their studies. The course was led by geography teachers Maija Flinkman and Lasse Lindqvist, and Dr. Leif Schulman, director of Finnish Museum of Natural History. Read more about the visit at:    https://www.helsinki.fi/fi/uutiset/lukiokurssi-keniassa and the blogs of the course at: https://espoonlukioidenkeniakurssi.wordpress.com/

February 2017 – Professor Jouko Rikkinen talks about endangered species in YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company) TV

Professor Jouko Rikkinen from the Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki discusses on world’s endangered species and provides examples from the Taita Hills in the morning TV programme of YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company on February 21, 2017.  YLEn aamu-tv- maailman uhanalaiset lajit 21.2.2017

November 2016 – MSc thesis from Jesse Hietanen

Jesse Hietanen finished his MSc thesis entitled as Predicting soil organic carbon and nitrogen content using airborne laser scanning in the Taita Hills, Kenya. The work was part of BIODEV project coordinated by World Agroforestry Centre.

October 2016 – Ambassador HE Tarja Fernández visited Taita Research Station

The Ambassador of Finland to Kenya HE Tarja Fernández accompanied with the Deputy Head of Mission Mr. Ramses Malaty visited Taita Research Station to learn about environmental research carried out by the Finnish and other scientists in the region.  They also attended meetings with Governor of the Taita Taveta County HE John Mruttu, and Vice-Chancellor Hamadi Iddi Boga of the Taita Taveta University.

August 2016 – Pro-Vice-Chancellor Anna Mauranen visited Taita Research Station

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof. Anna Mauranen of the University of Helsinki accompanied with head of delegation of the international affairs Dr. Anna-Maria Salmi visited Taita Research Station and had meetings with Governor John Mruttu of the Taita Taveta County and principal Hamadi Iddi Boga of the Taita Taveta University College.

June 2016 – Two new MSc theses finished at the University of Helsinki

Toini Kuronen, 2016: Primates on farms – perceived human-wildlife conflicts around Ngangao indigeneous cloud forest, Taita Hills, Kenya. The work was supported by Ympäristön Ystävät fund. Arto Viinikka, 2016: Mapping individual tree species using airborne imaging spectroscopy and laser scanning data in Taita Hills, Kenya. The work was done within CHIESA project (Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa) funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

April 2016 – Human Wildlife Conflict Seminar in Voi

Taita Taveta County organised a seminar on April 8, 2016: 2nd workshop on management of human wildlife conflict for sustainable peace and development in which Prof. Petri Pellikka gave a presentation on Land cover / land use change in the Taita Hills – Impacts on water resources and human / wildlife conflicts

March 2016 – AFERIA Project receives funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

A new initiative aimed at supporting the ability of smallholder farming families living around fragile mountain ecosystems in eastern Africa to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change through research-based interventions has been launched. Known as the Adaptation for Ecosystem Resilience in Africa (AFERIA), the two-year initiative will be coordinated by the Nairobi-headquartered International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), with funding from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Globally, and in Africa in particular, sensitive mountain ecosystems provide invaluable services, such as water provision, which are seriously threatened by accelerating land cover and land use change on the upper slopes where most of the remaining mountain forests are located. The capacity of these mountain water towers to store moisture, supply freshwater to the lowlands and reduce peak flood flows during extreme weather events has been compromised mainly by human activities, such as deforestation. The impacts are also amplified by increasing temperatures and variability in rainfall due to global climate change.

“Research-based interventions incorporate the latest scientific findings into resource management practices, be it water, crop, soil, forest or pest management. Each site-specific intervention will use improved technology and methods to support smallholder farmers’ adaptation to climate change and reduce their vulnerability to climate risks, such as floods and erratic rainfall,” explains Project Coordinator Dr. Tino Johansson from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Through climate change adaptation action plans and technology transfer, the AFERIA Project will disseminate research findings on climate change impacts and implement research-based interventions in different agro-ecological zones including: the Taita Hills and Murang’a County in Kenya; Mount Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania and the Jimma Highlands of Ethiopia. The Project will cooperate with national and local organisations to reach smallholder farmers, especially women and special needs groups. Among the adaptation technologies to be transferred to communities are: drip irrigation, roof rain water harvesting, conservation agriculture, farm forestry and insect pest management.

Taita Research Station will be one of the key actors in AFERIA ensuring that research-based interventions will reach out to the most vulnerable groups of farmers and simultaneously enhance climate change adaptation and food security in the Taita Hills.

February 2016 – Development geography students in field work for their MSc thesis

A student group led by Dr. Tino Johansson started their field work on conservation and infrastructure development topics in the Taita Taveta County. The field work was warmly supported by Kenya Wildlife Service, LUMO Community Conservation Sanctuary, Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and Taita Taveta County. The studetns and topics are: Antti Áutio, the effect of new Voi Taveta road on land use planning in Taita Taveta County, economy and conservation; Eero Vento: Impact of tourism to local economy; Sakari Äärilä: Community benefits from conservation; Ruth Uusitalo: Mosquito species and viruses in the Taita Hills.

January 2016 – Virologists from University of Nairobi and University of Helsinki start a research programme

Interdsciplinary research group headed by Prof. Omu Anzala from University of Nairobi and Prof. Olli Vapalahti from University of Helsinki had a 3-weeks long field work period in the Taita Hills for studying vector borne diseases in the Coast Province of Kenya.

October 2015 – Scientific CHIESA seminar organised with International Center of Insect Ecology and Physiology (icipe)

Taita Research Station organizes a scientific seminar for local stakeholders and beneficiaries in the Lavender Hotel, Wundanyi on October 7. Opening remarks are given by the Governor of the Taita Taveta County, H.E. John Mruttu and Prof. Juha Karhu from the University of Helsinki. The seminar presents some of the outcomes of CHIESA project funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa – Increasing Knowledge, Building Capacity and Developing Adaptation Strategies). The topics of the seminar include 1) Application of geoinformatics and environmental modeling in the Taita Hills, 2) Presentation of the Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Taita Hills, 3) Presentation of a new book: Natural History of Wild Fruits of the Taita Hills, and 4) Integrating participatory research and geoinformatics to develop new visions and pathways for the future of the Taita Hills. About 70 participants are expected to join from various parts of the county including teachers, officers from the governmental and county offices, environmental NGO’s and other stakeholders.

 

August 2015 – Koen Thijs presented his PhD thesis: Tree community dynamics and ecosystem function in a tropical landscape under deforestation pressure

Koen Thijs from Belgium presented his PhD thesis “Tree community dynamics and ecosystem function in a tropical landscape under deforestation pressure” at the KU Leuven, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering. Dr. Thijs has been carrying out field work in the Taita hills leaving his footprint at the Taita Research Station.

 

August 2015 – Five new MSc thesis finished at the University of Helsinki

Vuokko Heikinheimo, 2015: Impact of land change on aboveground carbon stocks in the Taita Hills, Kenya. Department of Geosciences and Geography (geoinformatics). The work was done within CHIESA project (Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa) funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Elisa Schäfer, 2014: Tree species diversity estimation using airborne imaging spectroscopy. Department of Geosciences and Geography (geoinformatics). The work was done within BIODEV project (Building Biocarbon and Rural Development in West Africa) funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland.

Åsa Stam, 2015: The growth and biomass increase of bryophyte and lichen transplants in Taita Hills, Kenya. Department of Biosciences. The work was done within TAITAWATER project (Integrated land cover-climate-ecosystem process study for water management in East African highlands) funded by the Academy of Finland.

Elina Virtanen, 2015: Fine-resolution climate grids for species distribution studies in data-poor regions. Department of Geosciences and Geography (physical geography). The work was done within TAITAWATER project (Integrated land cover-climate-ecosystem process study for water management in East African highlands) funded by the Academy of Finland.

Jessica Broas, 2015: Mapping above-ground biomass of trees outside forests in the Taita hills, Kenya, using airborne laser scanning and individual tree detection. Department of Geosciences and Geography (physical geography).  The work was done within BIODEV project (Building Biocarbon and Rural Development in West Africa) funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland.

 

March 2015 – Map release ceremony of the digital  map of Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary

Taita Research Station released and donated digital map with information about land cover, roads and and facilities of the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary located southwest of the Taita Hills. In the ceremony organized at Lion’s Bluff hotel, the chancellor of the University of Helsinki, Thomas Wilhelmsson greeted the audience by describing the long term commitment of the University of Helsinki in Taita Taveta county. Deputy Governor Mary Ndiga Kibuka saw a lot of cooperation possibilities within mapping of the nature resources and regional planning of the Taita Taveta county. Governor John Mruttu saw the geospatial datasets compiled and research carried out by the Taita Research Station very precious in improving the water resources of the county. The principal aim of this particular map is to provide paper maps for tourists, but also digital maps connected to global positioning systems (GPS) in order to navigate using GPS receivers or tablet computers. Another aim is to use the digital maps for updating real-time wildlife movements in the sanctuaries. The work was carried out by professional map maker, PhD student Mårten Boström. Read more about mapping activities at http://www.martenbostrom.com/. Video clips of the ceremony can be found at:
http://blogs.helsinki.fi/taita-research-station/movie-clips/

February 2015 – A delegation of the chairman of the board of the University of Helsinki

Dr. Jaana Husu-Kallio, the chairman of the board of the University of Helsinki and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, visited the Taita Research Station with  a delegation from Natural Resource Institute Finland (LUKE). The delegation took part earlier in February the annual meeting of the FoodAfrica project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland (https://portal.mtt.fi/portal/page/portal/mtt_en/projects/foodafrica). In Taita Taveta, Dr. Husu-Kallio was introduced the research carried out by the University of Helsinki and met also the Governor John Mruttu. (https://www.facebook.com/TheTaitaTavetaCountyGovernment)

January 2015 – School groups from Porvoo, Finland

Linnankoski High School and Borgå Gymnasium from Porvoo town, Finland carried out their “Internationalization course” as a part of curricula in geography studies at the Taita Research Station in January 2015. The excursion was led by teacher Jouko Lehmuskorpi and professor Petri Pellikka from the University of Helsinki. The class visited local schools (Canon Kituri High School and Maktau Primary School), the native forest patches of the Taita Hills, Kasigau mountain, LUMO sanctuary and Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. The students joined local families to learn every day’s life of a Kenyan agricultural family, learned current research carried out at the research station and were introduced to the mapping activities and methods. Read more about the excursion entitled as “Multidisciplinary studies on environmental issues in Taita Taveta, Kenya” at lilugoestaita.blogspot.fi.

December 2014 – Mårten Boström maps Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary

Taita Research Station started to map the land cover, roads and and facilities of the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary southwest of the Taita Hills. The principal aim is to provide paper maps for tourists, but also digital maps connected to global positioning systems (GPS) in order to navigate using GPS receivers or tablet computers. Another aim is to use the digital maps for updating real-time wildlife movements in the sanctuaries. The work will be carried out by professional map maker and PhD student Mårten Boström. On the first day, the team encountered poisoned lioness and a cub. Read more about mapping activities at http://www.martenbostrom.com/.

November 2014 – MoU with Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary

Taita Research Station and Sarova Hotels Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary  signed a Memorandum of Understanding about research and development cooperation aiming to involve science in wildlife conservation within the sanctuary and its environments. Similar kind of MoU is going to be signed with neighbouring LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary. Together the both sanctuaries cover 680 square kilometers savannah southwest of the Taita Hills between the hills and Tsavo West National Park.

September 2014 – Seminar on Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services ad Food Security in East Africa

Seminar was held at the University of Helsinki, on September 29, 2014. Programme can be seen at the CHIESA seminar 29092014 programme and the presentations captured on film will become shortly. Climate change is anticipated to affect ecosystem services of various kinds. In East Africa, the ecological interactions between insect pests, such as maize stalk borer, their natural enemies and host plants affects crop yields, e.g. maize and avocado, as a response to the change in temperature regimes and rainfall patterns. Increased population pressure in the highland agro-ecosystems forces small-scale farmers to clear more forests for agriculture. This changes the land cover, impacts the habitats and functional agro-biodiversity, and affects the provision of fresh water. The seminar discussed the on-going work and results obtained in the CHIESA Project funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 2011–2015. CHIESA (Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in East Africa – Increasing Knowledge, Building Capacity and Developing Adaptation Strategies) is coordinated by ICIPE (International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology) in Nairobi, Kenya. The University of Helsinki is one of the lead partners and taita Research Station one of the main venues of the project. In the seminar, the researchers and PhD students from Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Finland revealed  the importance of the climate change studies in an agricultural context in the project areas: the Taita Hills (Kenya), Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and Jimma Highland (Ethiopia).  More information on CHIESA homepages at: http://chiesa.icipe.org/ . The speakers of the seminar included Rector Jukka Kola, University of Helsinki, James Mwang’ombe, Kenya Forest Service, Director General Jarno Syrjälä, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Prof. Shadrack Mwakalila, University of Dar es Salaam, Dr. Reuben Kadigi, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Dr. Samira Mohammed, ICIPE, Dr. Tino Johansson, ICIPE.

 

August 2014 – New book about the Taita Hills

Lawrence Wagura: A Guide to Taita Hills – Unique Natural History. The Taita Hills’ uniqueness and beauty is unmatched. Cool hills tipped with huge rock outcrops that are surrounded by evergreen forests and settlement of the Taita people, offers the best landscape you can imagine. Taita Hills is the place to be for the lovers of trekking, hiking, cycling and rock climbing.  Walking in pleasant weather, surrounded by spectacular sceneries is breath taking. Get your guide copy today and discover one of Kenya’s unique natural history.  Can be bought through the Kenya Museums Society.

Spring 2014 – Research on the use of water resources in the Taita Hills

Social –research group of the TAITAWATER project studied the water resources’ use and management in the Taita Hills in 2013-2014. This research attempted to understand the current status of the water resources from the perspective of the local people and to analyze the driving forces behind the declining water resources. Participatory research methods, such as PGIS and timeline exercises, were employed in the study.

May 2014 – PhD thesis of Job Aben examined at the Antwerp University

The PhD thesis of Job Aben, Dispersal , connectivity and population viability of birds in a fragmented Afrotropical cloud forest, was examined at the Faculty of Science, University of Antwerp.

Spring 2014 – Two MSc thesis examined

Sarah Achola, University of Nairobi, has handed over her Msc thesis about “Assessment of the Potential for Integration of Ecosystem Based Approaches and Local Indigenous Knowledge into Climate Change Adaptation in the Taita Hills, Kenya”. Sarah worked within the CHIESA project at icipe funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The MSc thesis of Rami Piiroinen, University of Helsinki, “Classification of agricultural crops of the Taita Hills, Kenya using airborne AisaEAGLE imaging spectroscopy data” was examined in May 2014. After graduation, Rami started as a GIS expert in the CHIESA project at the University of Helsinki.

January 2014 – Kauniainen high school and Grankulla samskola at the Taita Research Station

Over 20 students and teachers from two high schools of Kauniainen town of Finland visited Taita Research Station and carried out school cooperation with the Canon Kituri Secondary School of Werugha.

December 2013 – Kuninkaantie high school of Espoo, Finland at the Taita Research Station

Kuninkaantie High School of the Espoo city of Finland visited Taita Research Station and carried out cooperation with Shimbo Secondary School of Werugha.

September 2013 – Focus Kenya – seminar on joint research and supervision between the University of Nairobi and the University of Helsinki, September 26, 2013, 2-4.30 pm at the University Main Building, lecture hall 7

Programme:

Professor Eric Mitema, Director of International Affairs of the University of Nairobi (Department of Public Health, Pharmacology and Toxicology): University of Nairobi research profile

Professor Petri Pellikka, Department of Geosciences and Geography: Taita Research Station of the University of Helsinki in Kenya

Dr Paula Vanninen, VERIFIN, Department of Chemistry: Castor oil plant and its toxicity: commercial cultivars and semi wild populations

Professor Jouko Rikkinen, Department of Biological Sciences: Botanical and mycological studies in the Taita Hills

Dr Janne Rinne, Department of Physics: Physical climate and biosphere-atmosphere interactions along elevation gradients in Taita Hills

Dr Mike Starr, Department of Forest Sciences: Carbon, canopy and rain interactions in the Taita Hills

PhD student Johanna Hohenthal, Department of Geosciences and Geography: Social studies on water resources use and management in Taita Hills, Kenya

Professor Timo Soveri, Department of Production Animal Medicine: North-South-South program collaboration in veterinary medicine

Professor Mikael Fortelius, Department of Geosciences and Geography: Unlocking the treasures of Turkana

PhD student Juha Saarinen, Department of Geosciences and Geography: Tracking the dietary history of elephants in Kenya

September 2013 – Fog collectors set up at Taita Hills forest fragments

As a part of  TAITAWATER in cooperation with Kenya Forest Service the first fog collectors were set up in the Taita Hills in order to measure the fog deposition as an importat water resource for the cloud forests such as the Taita Hills.

July 2013 – Mårten Boström is a World Champion in orienteering

Mårten Boström won a World Championship in sprint orienteering on July 9, 2013 in Sotkamo, Finland. Mårten has been training through wintertime  in the Taita Hills while carrying out his field work for his PhD studies and working for Treemap project. He has also made an orienteering map of the Ngangao forest of the Taita Hills as a part of his MSc thesis. Taita Research Station and University of Helsinki congratulates Mårten for his achievement and welcomes him back to Taita Research Station again in the autumn 2013.

April 2013 – Manager James Mwang’ombe

James Mwang’ombe started as a new manager of the Taita Research Station. Mr. Mwang’ombe is of Taita origin and has a B.Sc. degree in forestry from Moi University and a M.Sc. degree in forest soils and hydrology also from Moi University. He has a long history in conservation and development work in the Taita Hills with Kenya Forest Service, East African Wildlife Society and Taita Taveta Wildlife Forum.

February 2013 – Laser scanner and hyperspectral remote sensing flight campaign in the Taita Hills

An airborne remote sensing campaign was carried out by Department of Geosciences and Geography of the University of Helsinki with Ministry of Environment and Wildlife of Kenya, World Agroforestry Centre and Topscan GmbH in the Taita Hills and Kasigau mountain in February 2013 for the purposes of the BIODEV and CHIESA projects. The laser scanner data will be used for  forest and tree cover mapping, biomass and carbon monitoring over the various forest types of the Taita Hills and agricultural matrix.

January 2013 – TERRA signed contract with Kenya Forest Service

TERRA (Taita Environmental Research and Resource Arc) signed a contract about teaching Kenya Forest Service staff to map trees and plan forest corridors using geograpic information systems between the forest remnants of the Taita Hills. The Treemap project is part of Miti Mingi Maisha Bora project of KFS.

December 2012 – Taita Research Station Fund

Rector Thomas Wilhelmsson founded Taita Research Station Fund as proposed by the Alumni Association of the University of Helsinki. The purpose of the Fund is to support the research and teaching at the station and especially to support student’s work at the station. To make a donation is very easy: just open a link http://www.helsinki.fi/insight-en/giving/ and click “make a gift” and choose Taita-rahasto from “Lahjoitus”.

December 2012 – Landscapes and lichens of Taita Hills, Kenya

The expedition report is published and is to be found in page Publications of this homepage. Toivonen, T., J. Rikkinen & P. Pellikka (eds.), 2012. Landscapes and lichens of Taita Hills, Kenya. Expedition Reports of Department of Geography, University of Helsinki 50. 93 p.

December 2012 – Loice Omoro’s doctoral dissertation

Loice Omoro defended successfully her PhD thesis “Impacts of indigenous and exotic tree species on ecosystem services – Case study on the mountain cloud forests of Taita Hills, Kenya”   on December 14, 2012. The opponent was Dr. Erik Karltun from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the kustos was Prof. Markku Kanninen, Department of Forest Sciences of the University of Helsinki. Omoro was the first Kenyan defending the PhD thesis about the Taita Hills at the University of Helsinki and her thesis was the first one not from the Faculty of Science. The thesis is available at http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-8449-2.

December 2012 – BIODEV project started in the Taita Hills

The Taita Research Station of the University of Helsinki takes part in a BIODEV project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. The project entitled as “Building Biocarbon and Rural Development in West Africa (BIODEV) aims to develop assessment methodologies to forest and agroforestry biomass and carbon stocks and practices to improve forest cover and condition and increase trees on farmland. The project coordinated by ICRAF (World Agroforestry Centre)  operates besides Taita Hills also in Mali, Guinea and Sierra Leone  in West Africa. The other partners of the project are University of Eastern Finland, University of Helsinki and CIFOR (Centre for International Forest Research). The activities at the University of Helsinki involves Department of Geosciences and Geography and Department of Forest Sciences. Taita Hills is a pilot area for above ground biomass and carbon assessment and soil carbon stock studies. For this purpose an airborne remote sensing campaign will be arranged in the Taita Hills in January 2013. During the campaign airborne laser scanning data, hyperspectral AISA data and digital camera data will be acquired with Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing of the Ministry of Environment of Kenya. http://worldagroforestry.org/regions/west-central-africa/projects/building-biocarbon-and-rural-development-west-africa-biodev

September 2012 – Affiliation with National Museums of Kenya

Taita Research Station signed an affiliation contract with National Museums of Kenya in order to tighten research cooperation and also to the enable transport of the specimen from Kenya to Finland.

September 2012 – Helsinki University Alumnis at the Taita Research Station

17 alumnis of the University of Helsinki visited the station during 12-16 September. The group landed in Nairobi on the 10th and visited National Museums of Kenya, International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology and Paradise Lost coffee plantation on the 11th. In Taita, the programme included hiking and studies in Ngangao and Vuria mountain rain forests and visits to skull caves in Mwanda during the first two days. On the third day the group will visited the southwestern lowlands of the Taita Hills sighting World War I battlegrounds, Maktau railway station and LUMO community wildlife sanctuary. The way back to Nairobi included two day safari in Tsavo East and West National Parks with overnight in a Bigi tented camp by the Galana river. The last day in Nairobi was relaxing: visit to Karen Blixen Museum.

September 2012 – Research funding for TAITAWATER from the Academy of Finland

TAITAWATER project was evaluated positively by the Academy of Finland in June 2012 and received funding of 595.000 Euros. The project entitled as Integrated land cover-climate-ecosystem process study for water management in East African highlands started in September 2012. The project will be carried out as cooperation between Department of Biosciences (Prof. Jouko Rikkinen), Department of Forest Sciences (Dr. Mike Starr), Department of Physics (Docent Janne Rinne) and Department of Geosciences and Geography (Prof. Petri Pellikka and Dr. Paola Minoia). The case study area of the project is Taita Hills.

May 2012 – Opening ceremony of the Taita Research Station of the University of Helsinki

Opening ceremony of the Taita Research Station was held on May 21., 2012, 4 pm at the Great Hall of the University of Helsinki, Aleksanterinkatu 5. The aim was to present the activities of the station to the researchers, alumni, media and cooperation partners. The ceremony was opened by rector Thomas Wilhelmsson and the keynote speakers were minister Heidi Hautala from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and Prof. Agnes Mwang’ombe from the University of Nairobi. Additionally, professors Petri Pellikka and Jouko Rikkinen highlighted the history and strategy of the station. Dr. Nina Himberg presented the potentiality of the station to development studies of the University of Helsinki, while rector Ilpo Ahlholm from Kauniainen high school presented school trip expereinces from Taita Hills.

May 2012 – GIMMEC research community received acknowledgement from the University of Helsinki

A research community entitled as GeoInformatics for Monitoring and Modelling of Environmental Change was among the communities receiving support from the research evaluation committee of the University of Helsinki. The RC led by Prof. Petri Pellikka focuses on environmental change studies worldwide, but especially in East Africa within CHIESA and TAITAWATER projects.

February 2012 – Tom Callens’ doctoral dissertation

Tom Callens from the University of Ghent defended succesfully his doctoral thesis  Genetic and demographic signatures of population fragmentation in a cooperative breeding bird from south-east Kenya.

January 2012 – Airborne remote sensing campaign

As a part of the CHIESA project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, University of Helsinki in cooperation with Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing of the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources arranged an airborne remote sensing campaign in the Taita Hills. A transect from Mwatate on the plains south of the Taita Hills via Wundanyi to the highest peak, Vuria at 2200 m, was monitored using AISA Eagle hyperspectral sensor and NIKON D3X as part of the EnsoMOSAIC imaging system between January 19 and 24, 2012. In addition, several other areas, as Ngangao, Chawia, Mbololo, Irizi and Kasigau forests, were monitored as well. Simultaneously with the flights, a field team from icipe, University of Helsinki, National Museums of Kenya, University of Nairobi and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology were mapping the agriculture on the transect and measuring spectra, leaf area index and chlorophyll content of the agricultural crops. Read more about the sensors:

http://www.specim.fi/ for AISA and http://www.mosaicmill.com/ for the EnsoMOSAIC

NIKON D3X image representing Taita Research Station and the Wundanyi town in Jan. 21, 2012.

 

 

 

January 2012 – Kauniainen High School in the Taita Hills

Kauniainen high school from Finland visited Taita Research Station in January 2012. Geography teacher Jarmo Kankkunen led 18 high school students first time in Kenya. The group also had cooperation with Canon Kituri High School of Werugha. Read more from http://whatsupkenya.blogspot.com/

November 2011 – Nina Himberg’s doctoral dissertation

Nina Himberg defended her PhD thesis Traditionally protected forests’ role within transforming natural resource management regimes in Taita Hills, Kenya on November 25, 2011.  The opponent was Prof. Kimberley Medley, Miami University, Ohio, USA. The thesis is available at the E-thesis service: https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/28128. Dr. Himberg works currently as a coordinator of HUGS, Helsinki University Global South Network.

September 2011 – Dataloggers measuring temperature, air humidity and rainfall

Eight Ecolog dataloggers measuring temperature and air humidity and eight Campbell rain gauges measuring rainfall are set up in the Taita Hills in order to provide environmental data for climate change studies in the Taita Hills. The sensors will serve the researchers of the University of Helsinki and CHIESA project partners.

August 2011 – CHIESA project started in the Taita Hills

The objective of CHIESA (Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa) project is to increase the knowledge on the impact of climate change on ecosystem services in the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot (EABH) through research, training and dissemination. It will build the capacity of research communities, extension officers and decision-makers in environmental research in agriculture, hydrology, ecology and geoinformatics. The project also develops, disseminates and builds capacity for adaptation to climate change in eastern Africa. The project areas are the Taita Hills in Kenya, SW-part of the Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania  and Jimma area in Ethiopia.

The project is coordinated by icipe (Dr. Tino Johansson) and funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The Department of Geosciences and Geography of the University of Helsinki leads the work package 2 on land use and biogeographical information.  Other lead partners are icipe, University of York (UK), University of Dar es Salaam (TZ) and University of Sokoine University of Agriculture (TZ). The duration of the project is four years (2011-2015).

More information at http://chiesa.icipe.org/

February 2011 – Eduardo Maeda’s doctoral dissertation

Eduardo Maeda defended his PhD thesis Agricultural expansion and climate change in the Taita Hills, Kenya: an assessment of potential environmental impacts on February 4, 2011 at the University of Helsinki. The opponent was rector Tom Veldkamp from the ITC (University of Twente) , Netherlands. The thesis is available at the E-thesis service: https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/24585. Dr. Maeda works currently as a post-doctoral researcher at Joint Research Centre (JRC) – European Commission
Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES), Global Environment Monitoring Unit.

June 2010 – Barnaby Clark’s doctoral dissertation

Barnaby Clark defended his PhD thesis Enhanced processing of SPOT multispectral satellite imagery for environmental monitoring and modelling in June, 2010 at the University of Helsinki. The opponent was Prof. Philip Lewis From London University College.  The thesis is available at the E-thesis service: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-6306-0. Dr. Clark works currently as a GIS-consultant at GISMOOD Oy.

March 2010 – Mika Siljander’s doctoral dissertation

Mika Siljander defended his PhD thesis Geospatial environmental data modelling applications using remote sensing, GIS and spatial statistics on March 12, 2010 at the University of Helsinki. The opponent was Prof. Risto Kalliola from the University of Turku.  The thesis is available at the E-thesis service: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-6110-3. Dr. Siljander works currently as a GIS supervisor in CHIESA project funded by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.