Dr Esther Githumbi

Researcher in Late Quaternary Palaeoecology, 


English, Kiswahili

Research Focus

I am an ecological researcher focusing on long-term landscape changes primarily during the Holocene. My expertise is in the use of multiple tools\proxies such as: pollen, charcoal, sediment physico-chemical characteristics and land-cover reconstruction (REVEALS)\spatial interpolation to develop records of land-cover change and understand various aspects such as vegetation change, fire history and sediment processes.
Through a multidisciplinary approach, I collaborate with archaeologists, historians and climate modellers to develop an understanding of human-environmental interactions over the last 12,000 years in different landscapes. We have developed land-cover reconstructions for Europe for the last 11700 cal BP to provide reliable estimates of land-cover change that can be used for climate modelling.

2022 – “Linking soil erosion dynamics with identification of source areas and stratigraphic-geochemical sediment core analysis for deciphering the impact of land-use change in the watershed of a drinking water reservoir in Central Kenya”.

2018 – 2021 Land and Climate Interactions in Europe (LandClimII)
At Linnaeus University and Lund University in Sweden, I was involved in the development of quantitative land-cover reconstructions using the ‘Regional Estimates of VEgetation Abundance from Large Sites’ (REVEALS) model for Europe. We produced the first quantitative pollen based land-cover covering the Holocene (last 11,700 cal yr BP) using >1100 pollen records from across Europe and part of the Eastern Mediterranean-Black Sea-Caspian-Corridor. We have reconstructed the cover of 31 plant taxa assigned to 12 plant functional types (PFTs) and three land-cover types (LCTs). We also presented a new synthesis of relative pollen productivity (RPPs) for 45 European plant taxa was performed for this reconstruction. The data from this project is available in Pangaea (LandClimII 2021).

2013 – 2017 Resilience in East African landscape
My doctoral research focused on East African landscape responses to climate change and human impacts so as to better understand how they may respond to future climate change and human impacts. A multi-proxy approach analyzing pollen, macro-charcoal, sediment characterization
and elemental profiles was used to develop new palaeoecological records and reveal environmental changes since the late Pleistocene-Holocene transition period from Mau Forest and since the mid-Holocene from Amboseli. (Holocene Environmental and human interactions in East Africa.


  • 2018 - 2021 Land and Climate Interactions in Europe (LandClimII), 2013 - 2017 Resilience in East African landscape


  • Researcher in Late Quaternary Palaeoecology

Global goals

Target 6.5
Target 6.6
Target 13.1
Target 13.3
Target 15.2
Target 15.4
Target 15.5
Target 15.9


  • Sweden