PHD Project

October 4, 2022

Restoring degraded Kenyan grassland soils

Kenyan grassland soils

Soils underpin food production in Africa, and they are under extreme pressure and while there has been considerable research into the management of African soils for crop production, far less research has been conducted into grasslands and their management, yet they are vital for food security and animal nutrition.

This project is focused on understanding the best strategies for the restoration of African grasslands,  where the supervisors have established experiments in contrasting environmental settings investigating the role of manures, seeding and tillage on soil biogeochemical processes. In collaboration with our CASE partner ILRI, we will continue to run these experiments for the next five years. These experiments will provide the successful applicant with an unparallel resource for work into soil restoration strategies in tropical Africa.

This project aims to evaluate the impact of restoration strategies on soil multifunctionality utilising long-term experiments and by setting up new manipulation experiments to test how resilient the interventions are to future climate extremes including events of drought and flooding.

Objectives:

  1. Quantify the impact of restoration strategies on soil physical (aggregate stability, water holding capacity, water infiltration), biochemical (C, N and P stocks) and biological properties.
  2. Examine whether differences in the soil response are influenced by the soil mineralogical characteristics and by grazing.
  3. Determine the climate sensitivity and resilience of the soils following restoration interventions.

The successful applicant will be able to spend approximately 12 months in Kenya split in research visits. You will work closely with our CASE partner, the International Livestock Research Institute and local partners. Work will involve time spent in rural areas.

We are looking for a student with an environmental, geographical, geological or ecological sciences background. We will consider applicants from students with alternative qualifications, but all applicants should demonstrate their ability to be practical and pragmatic in their approach.

For more information please contact John Quinton j.quinton@lancaster.ac.uk.