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Balancing Nature, Economy, and Communities in the Greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem.

In the Greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem, spanning the border of Kenya and Tanzania, nature is central to both economic prosperity and the local population's welfare. Tourism fuels income generation and supports agriculture and livestock farming, yet it also poses challenges, including biodiversity decline and soil erosion. Over four years, CoCoST's international research team has been dedicated to establishing a sustainable land use model, striving for a harmonious future between people and wildlife in the region.

This vast ecosystem, known as the Greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem (GSME), extends across the border region connecting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. The GSME encompasses multiple national parks, which draw tourists from across the globe and underpin the local economy. Additionally, the natural landscape provides ample land for local communities to cultivate crops and raise livestock.

While essential for livelihoods, the influx of tourists and increased agricultural activity has accelerated the decline of wildlife populations and land degradation. Consequently, enhancing nature conservation and promoting sustainable land use are imperative for the wellbeing of local communities. CoCoST's mission is to secure a future where wildlife and human populations coexist harmoniously within the GSME.

The ecological project funded by the UEF and partner foundations who share our commitment to nature conservation, and allows an international group of experts to engage in four years of research in the GSME. 

The project has three key objectives:

  1. Identify the gaps and weaknesses in conservation knowledge
  2. Better understand the region’s ecological dynamics and interactions between different zones
  3. Develop practical solutions for conservation challenges

CoCoST, led by experts with deep local roots, fosters a profound grasp of GSME's distinct social and conservation dynamics.

Five integrated PhD projects span ecological research and conservation, encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration and cultural understanding.

The brainchild of Han Olff, a globally recognized ecosystems expert and full professor of Community and Conservation Ecology at the UG, CoCoST was meticulously crafted

UEF CoCoST projects