The African Environment

The Program for the Study of the African Environment (PSAE) is a unit of Boston University's African Studies Center that promotes interdisciplinary research in the environmental history and human ecology of Africa. Our goal is to develop a better understanding of the complexities of human interactions with the environment through the integration of research perspectives from the humanities, the social sciences, and the biological and earth sciences. The PSAE seeks to integrate the study of the African environment into research and training programs and to develop cooperative programs with colleagues and students in Africa and at Boston University. This includes exploring environmental dynamics and human-environment interactions that illuminate issues of health, economic development, conservation and management of resources, cultural ecology, historical change, and aesthetic expression.

The PSAE draws on particular strengths in research and training in environmental studies at Boston University and among our international partners. These include Boston University’s newly inaugurated Institute for the Environment (IFE), the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies (CEES), the Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology (CECB), the Boston University Marine Program (BUMP), the Center for Remote Sensing (CRS), and the Department of Environmental Health. International partners include the Environmental Science Program of Addis Ababa University, the International Centre for the Improvement of Wheat and Maize (Mexico City), the International Livestock Research Institute (Addis Ababa), and the International Water Management Institute. For more information, check out the PSAE Research Series.

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  • Archaeological survey, Aksum

  • Archaeozoologist Louis Chaix, Aksum

  • Ironsmiths, Aksum

  • Ironsmiths, Aksum

  • Ironworkers, Aksum

  • Diseased Dent Maize

  • Pre-Aksumite temple, Yeha, Ethiopia

    Pre-Aksumite temple, Yeha, Ethiopia

  • Alluvial Valley, Tigray, Ethiopia

  • Aksumite royal cemetery, Aksum, Ethiopia

  • AVHRR Land Cover Classification

  • AVHRR Tree Cover Classification

  • Farm interview, Zimbabwe

  • Farmers, Zimbabwe

  • Maize-Malaria Workshop, Addis Ababa, 2005

  • A. Kiszewski (HSPH), mosquito habitat in Jimma region, Ethiopia

  • Ancient lake deposit near Aksum, Ethiopia

  • Geological survey near Aksum

  • Geological survey near Aksum; Zelalem Kubsa, Mekelle University

  • Luisa Sernicola (Naples Eastern University) and Miruts Hagos (Mekelle University) examine Precambrian deposits near Aksum

  • Zelalem Kubsa, Jan Nyssen, Miruts Hagos (Mekelle Univ.); Mulugeta Haile Mariam (Geol. Survey of Ethiopia)

  • McCann (BU) and R. Pollack (HSPH), Maize-Malaria Project, Ethiopia (R. Robich)

  • Maize-Malaria field team, Asandabo, Ethiopia

  • Maize-Malaria field team, Asandabo, Ethiopia

  • Maize-Malaria field team, Asandabo, Ethiopia

  • Maize-Malaria field team, Asandabo, Ethiopia

  • Kaleb’s tomb chamber

  • Kaleb’s tomb, Aksum

  • Red paleosol between basalt flows, Tigray

  • Rural domestic compound, Tigray

  • Rural domestic compounds, Tigray

  • Rural landscape, Tigray

  • Sandstone with contact metamorphosis, Tigray

  • Sarcophagi, Kaleb’s tomb

  • Archaeological survey team, Aksum

Current and Planned Projects

Contact Information
Program for the Study of the African Environment (PSAE)
African Studies Center
Boston University
232 Bay State Road

Dr. James C. McCann, Director, PSAE;
Dr. Michael DiBlasi, Associate Director, PSAE;
Tel: 617-353-3673, Fax: 617-353-4975

Participating Boston University Faculty
Dr. Gillian Cooper-Driver, Professor Emerita, Dept. of Biology
Dr. Michael DiBlasi, Dept. of Archaeology and African Studies Center
Dr. Farouk El-Baz, Center for Remote Sensing
Dr. Kris Heggenhougen, School of Public Health
Dr. Leslie Kaufman, Dept. of Biology
Dr. Magaly Koch, Center for Remote Sensing
Dr. James C. McCann, Dept. of History and African Studies Center
Dr. Anthony Patt, Dept. of Geography
Dr. Richard Primack, Dept. of Biology
Dr. Parker Shipton, Dept. of Anthropology
Dr. Caroly Shumway, Dept. of Biology and New England Aquarium
Institutional Partners (via joint research)
Harvard School of Public Health
Universitá di Napoli, La Orientale (Italy)
Environmental Studies Program, Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia)
Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute
Fisheries Resources Research Institute, Uganda
Desert Research Institute, Egypt
Mekelle University (Ethiopia)
Geological Survey of Ethiopia