PhD candidate and researcher Jackson Otieno, associated with the University of Cape Town’s (UCT’s) Environmental Research Policy Unit (EPRU) in South Africa, jets off to France early in October to join the Toulouse School of Economics for three months of training, before embarking on his doctoral field work in 2015.
This study exchange programme, as part of the course work associated with the doctoral process of his host institution, the UCT School of Economics, will allow Otieno to hone skills associated with modelling the economic implications of different climate change mitigation actions and energy policies.
The Kenyan academic then plans to spend much of 2015 investigating the impact of climate change on wildlife use on private game farms in South Africa.
‘I want to look at the effects of climate change on the value of wildlife ranching and if so, to what extent,’ Otieno explains. ‘I also want to understand the role of adaptation and incentives in mitigating the effects of climate change on wildlife conservation.’
He hopes to answer key questions relating to how resilient the different ranching systems are. The research will also consider whether government incentives can encourage ranchers to get involved in sustainable wildlife conservation on private land in a situation where climate change has begun to impact on their farming operations.
While the focal area for the doctoral research will remain within the borders of South Africa, in the long run, the Kenyan hopes to replicate the study in countries where private land owners ranch with wildlife.
by Leonie Joubert