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.


Vos, Heleen C., Wolfgang Fister, Frank D. Eckardt, Anthony R. Palmer, and Nikolaus J. Kuhn. 2020. “Physical Crust Formation on Sandy Soils and Their Potential to Reduce Dust Emissions from Croplands”. Land 9 (12). MDPI: 503. doi:10.3390/land9120503.   edoc
Eckardt, F. D., S. Bekiswa, J. R. von Hold, C. Jack, N. J. Kuhn, F. Mogane, J. E. Murray, N. Ndara, and A. R. Palmer. 2020. “South Africa’s Agricultural Dust Sources and Events from MSG SEVIRI”. Aeolian Research 47. Elsevier: 100637. doi:10.1016/j.aeolia.2020.100637.   edoc
Kesselring, Rita, Julia Hohn, Carole Martin, Monika Huber, Anna Karsko, Anna-Sophie Hobi, Misato Kimura, Deborah Oliveira, Aurel Everwijn, Michèle Monnier, and Anna Christen. 2020. “Ethnographic Vignettes: Social Change and Social Encounters in Solwezi, Northwestern Zambia”. Edited by Till Förster and Lucy Koechlin. Basel Papers on Political Transformations. Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel.   edoc | Open Access
Prudat, Brice, Lena Bloemertz, Olivier Graefe, and Nikolaus J. Kuhn. 2020. “Soil Classification. Between Material Facts and Socio-Ecological Narratives”. In Towards Shared Research. Participatory and Integrative Approaches in Researching African Environments, edited by Tobias Haller and Claudia Zingerli, 25-43. Bielefeld: Transcript.
Krenz, Juliane, Philip Greenwood, and Nikolaus J. Kuhn. 2019. “Soil Degradation Mapping in Drylands Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Data”. Soil Systems 3 (2). MDPI: 33. doi:10.3390/soilsystems3020033.   edoc
Dobler, Gregor, and Rita Kesselring. 2019. “Swiss Extractivism: Switzerland’s Role in Zambia’s Copper Sector”. Journal of Modern African Studies 57 (2). Cambridge University Press: 223-45. doi:10.1017/S0022278X19000089.   edoc | Open Access
Kesselring, Rita. 2018. “At an Extractive Pace: Conflicting Temporalities in a Resettlement Process in Solwezi, Zambia”. The Extractive Industries and Society 5 (2). Elsevier: 237-44. doi:10.1016/j.exis.2018.02.008.   edoc | Open Access
Kesselring, Rita. 2018. “The Local State in a New Mining Area in Zambia’s Northwestern Province”. In Extractive Industries and Changing State Dynamics in Africa: Beyond the Resource Curse, edited by Jon Schubert, Ulf Engel, and Elisio Macamo, 129-47. Routledge Studies in African Development. London: Routledge.   edoc
Prudat, Brice, Lena Bloemertz, and Nikolaus J. Kuhn. 2018. “Local Soil Quality Assessment of North-Central Namibia: Integrating farmers’ and Technical Knowledge”. SOIL 4 (1). Copernicus Publications for European Geoscience Union: 47-62. doi:10.5194/soil-4-47-2018.   edoc | Open Access
Kesselring, Rita. 2017. “Disenclaving the Planners’ Enclave: The Housing Project Kabitaka in Solwezi, Northwestern Zambia”. Comparing the Copperbelt: Political Culture and Knowledge Production in Central Africa. Oxford: University of Oxford.   edoc | Open Access
Wingate, V., S. R. Phinn, N. J. Kuhn, L. Bloemertz, and K. L. Dhanjal-Adams. 2016. “Mapping Decadal Land Cover Changes in the Woodlands of North Eastern Namibia from 1975 to 2014 Using the Landsat Satellite Archived Data”. Remote Sensing 8 (8). MDPI: 681. doi:10.3390/rs8080681.   edoc
Miescher, Giorgio, and Anna Voegeli. 2016. “Rehabilitating the ’Ovambo cattle’: Veterinary Science and Cattle Breeding in Early Colonial Namibia”. In The Politics of Nature and Science in Southern Africa, edited by Maano Ramutsindela, Melanie Boehi, and Giorgio Miescher, 106-23. Basel: Basler Afrika Bibliographien.   edoc