Climate Research

Alternative Carbon Investments in Ecosystems for Poverty Alleviation (ALTER). Researching links between soil degradation, soil carbon and poverty in organic soils under wetland ecosystems in Uganda.

Wetland land use change in Uganda is a major contributor to national greenhouse gas emissions, while impacting the communities that surround these wetlands with the loss of fishing opportunities, water and other ecosystem services.

ALTER is a 3-year research project based in Ethiopia and Uganda which will demonstrate that there are real and lasting benefits for wide-scale poverty alleviation by tackling soil degradation at a range of scales. Tackling soil degradation is not simple and requires an understanding of how people benefit from soils, what they will gain if they can improve their condition, what they can do to accomplish this and what challenges they may face. In parallel, better insights are needed to understand the likely success of different management options to improve soils, and the goods and services that they can support.

The ALTER project is being led by the James Hutton Institute  in the UK with collaboration from researchers at the University of Aberdeen  and partners from Ethiopia including Hawassa University , the Ethiopian Government's Southern Agricultural Research Institute  and the International Water Management Institute  of the CGIAR group. CAFEA is the project partner in Uganda. This team brings together natural scientists, social scientists and economists who are working together with rural communities, decision-makers, research institutions, government bodies and other local partners.

Helaina Black, soil scientist at JHI and leader of the ALTER project, said: "This initiative aims to demonstrate how improved knowledge about soil degradation can be used to address poverty issues. We want to provide innovative yet practical information to governments in Africa on how to make effective use of existing and new soil data.”

ALTER (Grant No: NE-K010441-1) is funded with support from the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme . The ESPA programme is funded by the Department for International Development (DfID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

For a copy of the ALTER project brief Click here . For more information and latest news from the ALTER project website, Click here .