Leah Mungai

  • Ph.D.

  • Email: mungaile@msu.edu
  • Geography Building
    673 Auditorium Rd, Room 116
    East Lansing, MI 48824
  • Areas of interest: Sustainable agriculture using Perennial Grains crop systems, land use, human livlihood, Africa.
Ph.D.

Research Synopsis:

Research Title: Multi-scale Sustainable Intensification of Small-holder Agriculture in Malawi

Sustainable agriculture has been broadly debated in the scientific community. At the center of these deliberations, smallholder farmers struggle to produce food sustainably in a rapidly changing world of climate change, land degradation, and marginality.

Sustainable food production is possible through Sustainable Intensification (SI) of agricultural practices that optimize agricultural resource use to produce more food on the same amount of land with fewer negative environmental or social impacts*. In my research, I aim to assess SI of agriculture in smallholder systems using an interdisciplinary approach among geography, agroecology and spatial analysis. In my research site in Malawi, I utilize diverse datasets such as field observations, panel surveys and remote sensing imagery to extract features of interest and develop SI indicators of sustainable intensification of agriculture to assist in understanding multi scale complexities of SI of agriculture in smallholder systems.

I believe that examining spatial scaling to monitor SI of agriculture from a field- sub region – regional scale will offer researchers tangible evidence of variability in locations with scarce resources for SI of agriculture and improve our understanding of the nuances of resource needs and access of farmers that ultimately can be improved by decision-makers.

My research is part of the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) funded by USAID and Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) located in Kansas State University.  *(Pretty 1997, 2008, Petersen, B., Snapp, S., 2015)