DAAD Quality Network

The current biodiversity crisis is particularly pronounced in the tropics, where demographic pressures are high and many ecosystems are vulnerable. Intact ecosystems provide important habitats for animals and plants, as well as various ecosystem services for humans, thus supporting the quality of livelihoods. It is therefore important to conserve biodiversity not only in nature reserves but also in anthropogenic landscapes. In this context, the involvement of local communities plays a central role and strongly influences people’s attitudes and behaviour towards nature and nature conservation. Today, exclaves of remaining natural ecosystems are primarily protected areas such as nature reserves, but often also sites of cultural significance. The conservation of cultural sites combines the protection of people’s culture and biodiversity. Both culture and biodiversity can have a positive impact on the surrounding landscapes. Within the project, we are building a transdisciplinary network of researchers, students and stakeholders to study and learn about the significance of cultural forest sites. Therefore, natural and social science approaches will be closely linked in three successive phases.

Sub-project leader:

Mike Teucher

Project partners:
  • Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia
  • Pwani University Kilifi, Kenya
  • Taita Taveta University Voi, Kenya
  • University of Passau
  • University of Vechta
  • Paris-Lodron University Salzburg
  • Senckenberg German Entomological Institute Müncheberg
Background and objectives:
  • Strengthening, further development and consolidation of cooperation between German and East African actors from research and practice.
  • Support and build capacity at African partner universities to promote important research and curricula in ecology, conservation biology, indigenous knowledge and various aspects of social sciences
Expected results:
  • Joint research in a transdisciplinary network of European and East African researchers and students.
  • Assessing ecosystem health, understanding linkages and interactions for selected sites
  • Identifying relevant stakeholders who can mediate potential improvements
  • Implement ideas to restore and improve the environment and raise awareness of cultural and traditional values among local people
Habel, J.C., Gibru, A., Mulwa, M., Deffersha, H.A., Addisu, S., Teucher, M., Schmitt, T. and Ulrich, W. (2024) Unique Bird Diversity in an Ethiopian Church Forest. Biodiversity and Conservation.
Habel, J.C., Mulwa, M., Wagner, L., Schmitt, T., Teucher, M. and Ulrich, W. (2024) Diverging Responses to Natural and Anthropogenic Habitats in Aftrotropical Birds and Butterflies. Biodiversity and Conservation.
Habel, J.C., Milidakis, M.A., Lindorfer, S., Teucher, M., Schmitt, T. and Eberle, J. (2023) Habitat Specialisation and Resource Availability Determine Dispersal Behaviour in Four Afro‐tropical Butterflies. Ecological Entomology, een.13302.
Kung’u, G.N., Cousseau, L., Githiru, M., Habel, J.C., Kinyanjui, M., Matheka, K., Schmitt, C.B., Seifert, T., Teucher, M., Lens, L. and Apfelbeck, B. (2023) Anthropogenic Activities Affect Forest Structure and Arthropod Abundance in a Kenyan Biodiversity Hotspot. Biodiversity and Conservation.
Teucher, M., Habel, J.C., Schmitt, C.B., Rieckmann, M., Maghenda, M., Shauri, H.S., Deffersha, H.A. and Legesse, S. (2023, June 21) BIOCULT -Harnessing Synergies between Cultural Traditions and Biodiversity Protection in Theory and Practice. Ceske Budejovice.
Habel, J.C., Schultze-Gebhardt, K., Maghenda, M., Shauri, H., Kioko, E., Mwagura, L. and Teucher, M. (2023) Harmonizing Multi-Stakeholder Interests to Improve Forest Conservation in Southern Kenya. Biodiversity and Conservation.
Habel, J.C., Mulwa, M., Wagner, L., Schmitt, T., Teucher, M. and Ulrich, W. (2023) Diverging Responses to Environmental Change and Different Landscape Structure in Aftrotropical Birds and Butterflies.
Habel, J.C., Schultze-Gebhardt, K., Shauri, H.S., Maarifa, A.M., Maghenda, M., Fungomeli, M. and Teucher, M. (2023) Kaya Forests: Nucleus of Cultural and Biological Diversity and Functionality. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 39, e21.
Seifert, T., Teucher, M., Ulrich, W., Mwania, F., Gona, F. and Habel, J.C. (2022) Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions Across an Afro-Tropical Forest Biodiversity Hotspot. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 10, 816163.
Oehl J (2024) The development of SOC as an ecosystem function indicator of soils under pressure, land use change and different management practices in Kilifi county, Kenya. Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Korir MJ (2023) Arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi communities and their association with tree species in Taita Hills Forest, Kenya. University of NAirobi
Mokua R (2022) Integration of Remote Sensing in watershed studies - A case study of Chawia & Fururu, Taita Taveta County, Kenya. Pwani University
Mwania F (2022) Comparison of Ecosystem Functions in different Ecosystem types at Taita Hills, Kenya. Pwani University
Höfle L (2021) Biodiversity persistence in isolation: The relevance of sacred sites for nature conservation. Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg


Culture and Conservation: Harnessing synergies between cultural traditions and biodiversity protection
Kenya, Ethiopia
Research, knowledge transfer, cooperation