Afwork Gebrekirstos Aster

Afwork Gebrekirstos Aster was elected as an AAS Fellow in 2017. As a fellow, Afwork Gebrekirstos Aster contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.

Year elected
Agricultural & Nutritional Sciences

Prof. Afwork Gebrekirstos is a Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). She has over 20 years of experience in research, tertiary-level teaching and consulting. Her research focuses on tropical forest ecology and management, which includes dendrochronology (to reconstruct past climates and the effects and consequences of global climate change on hydrology, biodiversity and livelihoods), plant water relations, agroforestry and the restoration of degraded landscapes. She supervised many PhD and MSc students from across Africa.  Together with her students and partners she has produced relevant information on climate variability and climate change (e.g. reconstructed 360 years of precipitation data the longest for Eastern Africa yet), establishing tools to facilitate adaptation planning by local decision-makers and for early warning systems (including extreme drought/ flood, El Niño–Southern Oscillation events and determine large scale atmospheric circulation patterns). Raising research funds through her own initiative to build scientific capacity and facilities in Africa. She established a dendrochronology lab in Ethiopia funded by the German Research Council, DFG in 2009. She established a state-of-the-art dendrochronology lab at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi with financial support from the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change and Food Security, CCAFS, in 2013. Prof. Afwork Gebrekirstos has published over 70 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, conference papers and book chapters and gave keynote speeches, presentations in major international conferences. In recognition of her research, Prof. Afwork Gebrekirstos has received various distinctions, notably the prestigious African Climate Award for excellence in research in climate change adaptation and mitigation in 2014. In 2016, she was awarded a visiting professor position under the University of Dresden’s Eleonore Trefftz Programme. She also received the 2009 Special Award for Ground Breaking Science — African wide Young Professionals and Women in Science Competitions organized by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). She also serves on the Mountain Research Institute (MRI) Science Leadership Council, Scientific   Steering Committee of the   Past Global Changes project (PAGES) and is a member of many societies. Prof. Afwork Gebrekirstos is Vice president of the Board International Union of Agroforestry and Chair of The AAS Committee on Environment.