Dr. Florence Hawley Ellis Lecture (Keynote presentation)
Africa is faced with a number of challenges including climate change and ecological disturbance due to various anthropogenic activities. These problems adversely affect the forests and also ecosystem services. My appreciation for the forests motivated me to pursure my undergraduate studies in Forestry. I first applied dendrochronology during my PhD research which focused on understanding the climate change vulnerability of the Zambezi teak forests in Zambia. However, lack of research facilities and limited number of Dendrochronologist in Africa posed a challenge to acquire Dendro knowledge and skills on the continent. Hence, my first participation in the Dendro Field Week training in 2014 in Tasmania (Australia). I established positive significant relationship between tree-ring indices of Baikiaea plurijuga and rainfall in the wetter region. Exploratory Dendro studies in the wet miombo woodlands reviewed clear growth-ring formation in various tree species. We successfully cross dated Julbernardia paniculata and Brachystegia boehmii. Currently, I have established a Dendro lab and a training program at the Copperbelt University (CBU) in Zambia. The first Africa Dendro Training was offered at CBU from 24th October to 7th November, 2021. 24 people from seven countries of three continents were trained. I have also contributed to the establishment of a web-based database on Zambian woods and motivated women on the importance of education. In future, I plan to continue developing dendrochronology through research and providing Dendro trainings. The Second Africa Dendro training will be offered in July-August, 2022. I will also, continue to encourage girls and women on the importance of education.