Resilient Ecosystem and Sustainable Transformation of Rural Economies

Holman Africa Research and Engagement Fund

Heather Huntington

School Affiliation: School of Arts and Sciences
Country or Region Engaged: Ghana Côte d’Ivoire
Fund: Holman Africa Research and Engagement Fund
Year Awarded: 2023-24
Expertise: Sustainability, Public Health, Environmental Science, Economics, Agriculture

Our multidisciplinary team will leverage existing partnerships with USAID and the Resilient Ecosystem and Sustainable Transformation of Rural Economies (RESTORE) project team to investigate the impact of planned biodiversity and conservation interventions within the Guinean forests of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire from 2023-2027. Through USAID funding, RESTORE will initiate interventions to improve biodiversity, conservation, and sustainable agriculture, including interventions to improve off-farm forest restoration and on-farm cocoa agroforestry. An impact evaluation of RESTORE will assess project impacts on livelihoods, along with the linkages between environmental and health outcomes. We focus on two growing health threats: water-borne illness and zoonotic disease. Our specific aims are to: determine the impact of RESTORE in mediating the effects of biodiversity loss and forest degradation; identify the mechanisms linking ecosystem health to wildlife health and human health; and quantify whether interventions which effectively reduce deforestation can positively impact environmental and health outcomes.