Taita Research Station

Taita Research Station is a multidisciplinary research station of the University of Helsinki in Kenya established in 2011.

The research focus of the station is on land cover and land use change and the impacts on climate, water resources, biodiversity, and livelihoods. The landscape, environment and socio-economic characteristics of the Taita Hills, and Taita Taveta County, in general, provides unique research questions to students and scientists in collaboration with the local community, research institutes, and universities. The University of Helsinki started research in the Taita Hills by a field excursion in 1989, and restarted the studies again in 2003 with Professor Petri Pellikka returning to Taita Hills with his students. Since then, students and scientists from different disciplines, ranging from geography and biology to physics and medicine, have used the research station services for field work producing 38 PhD, and over 80 MSc and BSc theses. Main cooperation partners in Kenya are University of Nairobi, Taita Taveta University, International Livestock Research Institute, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, National Museums of Kenya, World Agroforestry Centre and Kenya Forest Service. Substantial research funding has been received from the Academy of Finland, and development cooperation funding from Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the European Commission.

The most valuable asset of the station is the geospatial database about land cover and its changes, soil, topography, climate, and infrastructure. In addition, the station has a variety of field plots describing land cover and vegetation characteristics. Remote sensing data of the station includes multitemporal aerial photography and satellite imagery, airborne laser scanner data and airborne hyperspectral remote sensing data. The station can host 20 guests at the time providing logistics, accommodation, internet, water, electricity, safety and modest laboratory and teaching space. 

Homepage of the Taita Research Station