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  • Writer's picturegaathiermahed

Multi and Interdisciplinary Research

Evaluating anthropogenic changes to natural systems demand greater quantification through innovative transdisciplinary research focused on adaptation and mitigation across a wide range of thematic sciences. Southernmost Africa is a unique field laboratory to conduct such research linked to earth stewardship, with ‘earth’ as in our Commons. One main focus of the AEON’s Earth Stewardship Science Research Institute (ESSRI) is to quantify the region’s natural and cultural heritage at various scales across land and its flanking oceans, as well as its time-scales ranging from the early Phanerozoic (some 540 million years) to the evolution of the Anthropocene (changes) following the emergence of the first human-culture on the planet some 200 thousand years ago. Here we illustrate the value of this linked research through a number of examples, including: (i) geological field mapping with the aid of drone, satellite and geophysical methods, and geochemical fingerprinting; (ii) regional ground and surface water interaction studies; (iii) monitoring soil erosion, mine tailing dam stability and farming practices linked to food security and development; (iv) ecosystem services through specific biodiversity changes based on spatial logging of marine (oysters and whales) and terrestrial (termites, frogs and monkeys) animals. We find that the history of this margin is highly episodic and complex by, for example, the successful application of ambient noise and groundwater monitoring to assess human-impacted ecosystems. This is also being explored with local Khoisan representatives and rural communities through Citizen Science. Our goal is to publicly share and disseminate the scientific and cultural data, through initiatives like the Africa Alive Corridor 10: ‘Homo Sapiens’ that embraces storytelling along the entire southern coast. It is envisioned that this approach will begin to develop the requisite integrated technological and societal practices that can contribute toward the needs of an ever-evolving and changing global ‘village’

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