Tropical ecology and edible insects

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Biodiversity laboratory, Makerere University Biological Field Station, Kibale National Park, Uganda

We have currently two ongoing projects at Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Joensuu campus:

1) Assembly of food webs during tropical forest restoration

Forests play a fundamental part in the well-being of humankind, and restoration of forests has now emerged as a global priority. Yet, it is still poorly understood how efficiently forest restoration can bring back the complexity of functioning ecosystems, such as the crucial networks of species interactions. In this project, we study the assembly of food webs during tropical forest restoration in Kibale National Park, Uganda, in large-scale restoration planting areas.

2) Edible insects

Insects as food or feed are now considered as one potential solution to meet the increasing global demand of food and nutrition. Insects have always been part of human diets and more than two thousand insect species are recorded to be eaten by human. Our goal has been to develop a sustainable technology for mass rearing a highly popular and valuable long-horn grasshopper (Ruspolia differens) in eastern Africa based on ecological and biological knowhow, and to roll out the knowledge and skills to local communities in Uganda. In Finland, we are also studying the use of protein-rich by-products of food industry in feeds of Acheta domesticus and Gryllus bimaculatus.

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