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PhD Studentship (ESRC South Coast DTP) - Exploring Climate Change Impacts on Agroforestry Livelihoods in Tanzania

Global Environmental Change & Earth Obs

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £14553
Annual stipend of £14553 plus payment of programme fees.
Closing Date:   Wednesday 28 June 2017
Reference:  878617WR

Exploring Climate Change Impacts on Agroforestry Livelihoods in Tanzania

A fully funded studentship awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP)

Supervisory Team:

Dr Marije Schaafsma (Geography) (, Dr Natalie Suckall (Geography), Dr Kelvin Peh (Biological Sciences)

Better understanding of the impacts of climate change in agroforestry systems on livelihoods and food security of rural households in Sub-Saharan Africa is necessary for agroforestry to achieve the triple wins of reducing poverty, improving adaptive capacity and mitigating climate change.
The key question this interdisciplinary PhD project aims to answer is: Does agroforestry in Tanzania adequately provide in farmers’ livelihoods, food security and adaptive capacity under expected climatic changes?

Research questions:

How does climate change affect agroforestry-based livelihoods in Tanzania? Specifically, what are the effects of climate change on soil fertility and food production? How can farmers in agroforestry systems adapt to these changes?

The agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa will be strongly impacted by climate change (CC), with ramifications for food security and livelihoods. Whilst some actors, including international organisations such as the FAO, promote agroforestry as a widely applicable adaptation strategy, observed CC impacts in some forestry systems suggest that the net effects on livelihoods and ecosystem services may be negative. Whether agroforestry is indeed a suitable adaptation strategy in subsistence farming areas in Sub-Saharan Africa is not well evidenced. Accurate data of forest cover and soil improvements under CC dynamics from multiple agro-ecological zones to demonstrate agroforestry systems responses to CC are missing. Therefore, the impacts on livelihoods and food security are unknown, which limits the possibility to formulate adequate responses in CC policy and to support farmers’ adaptive capacity. The research questions require an interdisciplinary approach and are expected to be addressed through a combination of interviews with farmers and local decision-makers, yield and livelihood assessments, supported by soil analysis, and secondary data analysis of climate and land cover changes over time.

Skills required: Background in physical geography or biology (preferably with skills in soil sampling, GIS); strong interest in social sciences, sustainability and interdisciplinary research; experience and desire to work in low income countries. Experience in working with local NGOs is a strong advantage.


South Coast DTP Funding provides an annual maintenance grant (tax free) of £14553, plus payment of all programme fees.  Other funding available for SCDTP funded students can be found on the SCDTP website (

Funding is provided for 3 years full-time PhD study (pro-rata for part-time students).  Applications for 1+3 funding for students completing a Master's year prior to the commencement of PhD study are also welcome (details available at

Application Procedure

The closing date and time for applications is noon on 28th June 2017.  The full application procedure, the funding application form, and more information on the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership can be found at:

For further information about this project, please contact the lead supervisor detailsed above.  For questions relating to the application procedure, or for more information about the SCDTP, please visit the SCDTP website or contact us at

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position



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