Field training at 1750 mt, on the southern slopes of Kilimanjaro
The scientific station founded in 2005 undertakes and facilitates biological research, educating Tanzanian and International PhD and MSc students, planting indigenous trees via NGO TanzMont and raising awareness of environmental issues.
It is located at the lower border of the montane rain forest surrounding Kilimanjaro, protected as National Park and a designated UNESCO world heritage site. The station itself lies in the so-called Chagga Homegardens, a sustainable agroforestry system with a high biodiversity, rich in former forest species and a high degree of endemics.
Especially, during the last 30 years a huge data base was created ranging from climate and soil to vegetation and faunistic data. From 1989 to 1996 ethnobotanical and ethnozoological projects were conducted, later projects on vegetation and Orthoptera, all financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG). From 2010 to 2018 the research unit „KiLi“, again financed by the German DFG was established. Climate and soil data as well as monitoring selected groups of plants and animal groups resulted in a wealth of data from all major habitats of Kilimanjaro. On 65 plots from savanna to afroalpine habitats around 70 bachelor, master and PhD students obtained their degrees, among them a good number of Tanzanians. A booklet summarizing the results and providing more insight into study design, participating Universities and Institutes in Tanzania and Europe, and information on available data can be downloaded here.
In the frame of the KiLi Project a rainmap together with a high-quality physiographic map as a base for ecotourism, nature conservation and land planning at a scale 1:100,000 for the entire Kilimanjaro massif was developed and is available here.
The finding of the tallest trees of Africa on one of the research plots of KiLi attracted world-wide attention.
A second research unit granted by the German DFG started in 2020 with its first phase running until 2024. The interactions and inter-dependencies between people and nature at Mount Kilimanjaro under land-use, climate, and governance change are investigated in this project. Results will provide the scientific basis for political and societal decision-making that will facilitate transformation towards sustainable relationships between nature and people at Kilimanjaro.
For more information, visit the official website here