Science in Society

Pioneering Integration of Critical Zone Sciences with Social Sciences and Humanities in Africa: CZASE’s Innovative Approach

  1. Context: The devastation caused by Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Beira, Mozambique in 2019 highlighted the vulnerability of communities due to compromised soil and landcover relationships. Climate-related crises have led to challenges such as food insecurity, militarization of food distribution, and increased vulnerabilities for women and children.
  2. Research Objectives: The project seeks to integrate societal well-being with soil health knowledge, advance regional and local goals, devise new governance strategies, contribute to sustainable food systems, and promote alternative value-based approaches to environmental planning.
  3. Approach: Drawing on Critical Zone (CZ) studies and environmental humanities, the project will develop transdisciplinary frameworks to understand the interplay between soil health, social justice, and climate change impacts. It aims to develop new conceptual tools, research methods, and communication strategies.
  4. Consortium Structure: The project involves ±80 researchers from multiple disciplines across seven countries. It emphasizes collaboration between biosciences, geosciences, social sciences, humanities, and policy research to address climate challenges and promote sustainable development.
  5. Implementation: The project will involve curriculum development, training of graduate students in CZ methods, collaborative research, policy engagement, and communication of research findings. It includes regular meetings, workshops, and engagement with stakeholders to ensure accountability and relevance.

Overall, Critical Zones Africa South & East (CZASE) seeks to generate evidence-based policies and strategies to mitigate climate catastrophes, promote soil protection, and enhance societal resilience in the face of climate change impacts.