'Social histories and biodiversity of agroforestry homegardens on Mt Kilimanjaro.'
My current role at the university is an Academic Instructor in Geography. I came to Canterbury Christ Church from the University of Kent where I completed my MSc in Ethnobotany, having previously studied Biology at the University of York. My research interests focus on ethnobotany, natural resource management, biocultural conservation, and sustainable development. My current research investigates the social-ecological histories of agroforestry homegardens on Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, focussing in particular on the relationships between socio-economic change and agricultural biodiversity.
Chagga homegardens or ‘banana groves’ are located in an ecological belt on the southern and south-eastern slopes of Kilimanjaro between altitudes of 1000m and 1800m. Agroforestry home-gardens are widely hailed as an example of long-term sustainable agriculture which perform a range of economic, social, and ecological functions. They act as biocultural refugia for wild flora and fauna, landraces and cultivars, and the traditional knowledge associated with their cultivation. Smallholder production systems can be viewed as the result of a performance over time, thus the biodiversity of a homegarden is a record of the responses made my smallholders to socio-economic and ecological stresses, shocks, and opportunities. My research will use a socio-centric actor-oriented approach to investigate the diversity of responses of smallholders in Machame Kaskazini Ward to socio-economic and ecological change, and how this is reflected in agricultural biodiversity of their homegardens. It is hoped that such an analysis will lead to a better understanding of how individual actors on Kilimanjaro negotiate the complex changes they face, and what the effect of these actions are on the environmental and economic sustainability of the Chagga farming system.