Land, Landscapes and Ecology

The Key Area of Activity ‘Land, Landscapes, and Ecology’ has a research agenda based on the combination of three interconnected key themes in Africa-related research and debates in the humanities, social and natural sciences.

Land is a core topic in political struggles across Africa, and beyond, and the question of who owns and who can make use of the land, and natural resources more generally, is fundamental to any socio-political analysis. Practices of land-use are never isolated but always related to complex ecological, social and cultural processes, which are concurrently embedded in broader spatial and temporal frameworks.

The term ‘landscape’, on the other hand, offers a theoretical perspective for discussing the material and imagined (or practical and metaphysical) conceptions, through which land is shaped, perceived, experienced and made sense of. Landscape, therefore, is a concept reflected on in both the social and natural sciences, and it opens up productive pathways towards interdisciplinary research.

The term ‘ecology’, finally, refers to the study of interactions between components within ecosystems, and highlights the commitment to include biological, environmental and conservation science into our understanding of land and landscapes in Africa.

In sum, the KAA ‘Land, Landscapes, and Ecology’ offers a platform for thinking about the past, present and future of land and land-use across the disciplines on the basis of a sustained interdisciplinary conversation that wishes to synthesise the theoretical and methodological approaches from the natural and social sciences, and the humanities.