World Agroforestry Centre



Aster Gebrekirstos has over twenty years of experience in research, tertiary level teaching, and consulting.  Currently, she is a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), where she leads the Dendrochronology Laboratory, and she is affiliated with Erlangen University, Germany. She is also a principle investigator, representing ICRAF, at the USAID-funded Africa RISING project, and is involved in several other projects across Africa and Asia. She lectures at universities in Germany and as part of the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change (WASCAL) PhD programme in Cote d’Ivoire.

Aster Gebrekirstos holds a Diploma and a BSc degree in Forestry from Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Alemaya University in Ethiopia, respectively. She won the Netherlands Fellowship Program for her MSc at Wageningen University (1996-1998) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for her PhD at Gottingen University (2001-2005). She has published over 80 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, and conference papers and book chapters. She has supervised PhD and MSc students from across Africa, and given keynote speeches and presentations at major international conferences. She also serves as a member of several editorial boards.

Aster Gebrekirstos has played an active role in developing science in Africa. She established ICRAF’s Dendrochronology Laboratory in 2013 and the laboratory at Ethiopia’s Wondo Genet College of Forestry in 2010. She also established an Agroforestry demonstration plot at Wondo Genet Forestry College in 2000.

In recognition of her research and contributions, Aster Gebrekirstos has received a number of distinctions. Notably, she was recognized for her outstanding contribution to the advancement of science in Africa by the African Academy of Sciences with the conferment of the status of Fellow in 2017, and received 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 for Visiting Women Professors. She also received the 2009 Special Award for Ground Breaking Science – African-wide Young Professionals and Women in Science Competition.

Research Interests

Keywords: Climate Change, Dendroecology, Restoration Ecology, Natural Resource Management, Sustainable Intensification, Stable Isotope Research, Plant Ecophysiology.

Aster Gebrekirstos’ areas of specialization and research include climate change (dendrochronology, plant-climate interactions and applications of isotopes to reconstruct climate history, the study of plant eco-physiological and hydrological processes and global climate changes), forest ecology and management (carbon, water, and nutrient balance of forest and agroforestry systems, and the effects and consequences of global change on biodiversity and livelihoods), silviculture, agroforestry, sustainable intensification, and restoration of degraded landscapes.


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