What is the Mazingira Centre?


The Mazingira Team during the 2018 Retreat. photo credit Lutz Merbold


Our vision is to define and to create environmentally friendly, climate-smart, and food and nutrition secure livelihoods for smallholder farmers and livestock keepers in the Global South.


We contribute to sustainable, food and nutrition secure livelihoods in the Global South for smallholder farmers and livestock keepers by conducting leading-edge “Research in Development”. Our work focuses on the process-​ and system-​oriented understanding of agroecosystems in order to fill existing knowledge gaps for both present environmental circumstances and future climate change scenarios.

We assess the emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants across a range of agricultural systems by focusing on both individual system components (e.g. livestock, soils, manure) as well as system-level processes (e.g. ecosystem nutrient transfer and exchange). In addition, we investigate experimentally and with modelling approaches the systems responses to climatic, biophysical and human drivers across temporal and spatial scales. Our main goal is to make agroecosystems more productive and resilient to stresses while minimizing environmental degradation and pollution. We use state-of-the-art technologies (animal respiration chambers, trace gas flux towers, laser absorption spectrometers) and established and widely used methods (activity data collection in farming environments) and evaluate the potential of innovative tools (e.g. mobile phone applications) in our studies.

The Mazingira Centre is a hub for capacity building and encompasses working jointly with farmers through bilateral knowledge exchange, training the next generation of scientists via mentoring and supervision of students, graduate fellows and early-career scientists, and engaging with national stakeholders in research and policy (e.g. national research centres, ministries etc.).


The Mazingira Centre’s values are professionalism, commitment, appreciation and support of our team members and partners. Our work builds on the fair exchange of information and ideas within and across disciplines at highest quality standards. Social and scientific responsibility and integrity guide all our work and we embrace diversity and gender equality.