Ecology, Earth System Science & Global Change Biology
We are very happy to have been awarded new grants from both NSF and NASA! The NSF grant falls under the Water, Sustainability, and Climate program, which selected our proposal to study the "Impacts of Agricultural Decision Making and Adaptive Management on Food Security in Africa". Focusing on Kenya and Zambia, this project will investigate how near-term hydrological and agro-ecological forecasts can be used to improve intra-seasonal water and farm management decisions, and thereby improve livelihood security. This is a 5 year grant led by Kelly and Justin Sheffield at Princeton and Tom Evans, Shahzeen Attari, and Beth Plale at Indiana University, in collaboration with Moses Mwale of the Zambia Agricultural Research Institute, Professor Jesse Njoka of the University of Nairobi, and Dr. Luke Olang of the IGAD Climate Predictions and Applications Centre. Adam and Lyndon will also be closely involved with this research: Adam will develop the real-time environmental sensor network that will form a key part of the methods, while Lyndon will develop the agro-ecological forecasting methods.
The NASA grant was awarded to Lyndon under the New Investigator Program in Earth Science for his proposal entitled “Integrating crowdsourcing, in situ sensing, and spaceborne observation to understand the sustainability of smallholder agriculture in African wet savannas”. This project will use a combination of remote sensing, in situ observations by PULSE lab sensors, machine learning (led by Stephanie Debats), and crowdsourcing to detect trends in the area and productivity of Zambian maize farms since 2000. The aim is to assess 1) whether yield increases are correlated with cropland expansion or contraction, 2) whether yield increases precede cropland changes, and 3) whether yield gains correspond to increased climate sensitivity. This research will provide insight into the socioeconomic and ecological sustainability of agricultural expansion in a region of increasing climatic variability and rapid growth.