Chukwuebuka Christopher OKOLO, PhD Student in Soil Science (32, Nigeria)

Chukwuebuka C Okolo

Unsustainable agricultural practices in Sub-Saharan Africa are both contributing towards climate change and exacerbating its impact on local populations. Chukwuebuka Christopher Okolo’s research focuses on increasing sustainability by promoting effective management of soil carbon.

MEKELLE UNIVERSITY, ETHIOPIA

Research focus: soil carbon sequestration under different land uses in relation to climate following land use conversion in northern Ethiopia

Chukwuebuka’s research interest centres on the accurate quantification of soil carbon in relation to climate change. He aims to provide framework information towards the understanding of carbon capture, distribution and transfer. Soil carbon is vital for supporting ecosystems and improving soil productivity, and its effective management boosts sustainable use. By increasing the levels of soil organic carbon in degraded soils, CO2 emissions will be sequestered and water capture enhanced.

He is now adopting a climate analogues approach to his research. This term refers to the comparison of sites or conditions with statistical similarity, meaning his research will have a global scope. The next stage of his investigation will be to determine which agricultural systems can survive specific climatic and other conditions, and why. He will also determine the relationship between stocks and changes in soil carbon, as uncertainty remains regarding the relative quantities of carbon that might be stored under various land management systems across the semi-arid areas of northern Ethiopia following land use conversions.

Unsustainable farming techniques currently in use across Sub-Saharan Africa have contributed significantly towards an increase in the region’s carbon emissions. Chukwuebuka’s research in effective carbon management will be a vital tool in addressing this negative trend. Chukwuebuka has a vast amount of publications to his name, cutting across Nigeria and Ethiopia primarily in the field of soil conservation, sustainable land use and soil carbon management in northern Ethiopia.

The jury was impressed by the dual benefit of Chukwuebuka’s research. In addition to fighting the effects of climate change, Chukwuebuka hopes his research will contribute to a reduction in rural poverty by boosting agricultural productivity. His findings will also enable farmer exchanges between climatic analogue sites, thus improving knowledge sharing among communities.