Scientist Susan Chomba responds to challenges of ecosystem restoration

Celebrated by Global Landscapes Forum on International Women's Day
Woman stands beside tree, speaking with farmers
Susan Chomba, a social scientist at World Agroforestry speaks with farmers in Kenya. ICRAF/May Muthuri

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The forested world in which Susan Chomba was immersed in girlhood is now gone.

She grew up familiar with the cackles of hyenas and barking baboons, which ran through her village on the slopes of Mt. Kenya with their babies on their backs.

But these experiences were a short-lived luxury, she told Gabrielle Lipton, editor of Landscape News, who interviewed her for an International Women’s Day feature titled “16 women restoring the Earth.”

By her late teens, many of the native trees of her landscape were cut down by smallholder farmers clearing land to plant crops. Rivers and streams the forests had supported dried up, and the animal sounds went quiet.

Her interest in biodiversity piqued, she studied forestry and forest governance at university.

“I wanted to learn about the connections between trees and rivers and smallholder farmers,” said Chomba, who is currently a social scientist at World Agroforestry (ICRAF). “I knew we had a big problem, but I did not know how we could solve it.”

Since 2017, she has led Regreening Africa at ICRAF, which builds capacity among farmers in eight countries, with the aim of building up knowledge and access to technologies to integrate trees onto farms and contribute to sustainably managed landscapes and food security.

Learn more about Chomba and 15 other women making significant contributions to greening the planet here.

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