Agricultural Ecologist at The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy
Nairobi, KE, Kenya

Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.
The Nature Conservancy Africa program follows a holistic approach to protect vital lands and waters, transform the way natural resources are used and managed, and inspire to equip others to contribute to the shared vision of a healthy and sustainable future for Africa’s lands, waters, wildlife and people. We use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.orq or follow @nature press on Twitter.
In Africa, agricultural landscapes are where people and natural systems co-exist. Agriculture must go far beyond nature protection, to develop equitable household and community-level incentives for sustainable conservation. Food production systems are responsible for approximately 80% of deforestation, 70% of terrestrial biodiversity loss and 50% of freshwater biodiversity loss. They contribute about 23% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Traditional conservation efforts focused around protected areas will achieve little without going where nature is intertwined with agriculture. TNC is therefore committed to catalyze a transition process to sustainable food systems, which ensure agriculture is a positive tool for nature and climate. This is particularly critical in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where TNC’s focal geographies are. Lessons show that the future of SSA agriculture will be derived directly from healthy ecosystems. Agriculture will be at the heart of climate mitigation, significantly and positively influencing C, water and nutrient cycles, pollination, and genetic diversity that are key for long-term viability of land enterprises.
The Agricultural Ecologist will be part of the Africa Agriculture program. This position will build the technical and scientific bridge between the Agriculture Program and other TNC Programs, and steadily contribute to collaborative work with TNC’s Forestry Strategy, Freshwater Strategy and Global teams. The position will work to support the enhancement of C sequestration, the relationship between soil health and markets/livelihoods, sustainable agriculture-focused partnerships, and guide fieldwork (including MSc and Ph.D. students) undertaking technical and scientific work in sustainable food systems.
This position will report to the Africa Agriculture Director, and will be based at TNC office in Kenya, Tanzania, or Zambia. No relocation or visa sponsorship or assistance is being offered with this position.
Essential Functions
The Agricultural Ecologist will be responsible for sound technical advice and support around sustainable agricultural development. They will contribute to the transition to production systems that safeguard the environment, its biodiversity, and the climate. To achieve this, the position will prioritize the relationship between livelihoods and soil health on farms and in non-farm systems, promote agroforestry and diversification including native species to protect forestry systems and biodiversity, and scale up sustainable conservation practices including crop, livestock, and aquaculture integration.
Responsibilities And Scope
Support TNC Agriculture and other Strategies’ projects that focus on sustainable intensification and land resources management
Work with technical organizations and private sector companies, particularly in offering agricultural ecological technical support around carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling, and the role of soil and root health in markets/livelihoods sustainability
Lead the selection and application of nature-based solutions in crop, livestock, aquaculture, forest systems in TNC project target regions and support the documentation of their performance
Participate in TNC thematic discussions to develop technical and operational recommendations for sustainable agricultural development
Develop and/or adapt, and deliver agroecological technical training and mentoring program for stakeholders
Collaborate with TNC (especially geospatial) teams to apply sampling strategies and employ a range of habitat survey techniques, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), aerial photography, records and maps to carry out environmental impact assessments, analyze and interpret data, using specialist software programs
Collaborate with TNC communications staff and outside partners and stakeholders to develop new knowledge products and operational tools that are informed by learning from the field
Represent TNC at priority meetings and on committees where Agricultural Ecology technical input is required
Works independently, and routinely support Global Agriculture team and the Africa Agriculture Director as needed
May work a flexible schedule and travel frequently
The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best
advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of all genders with diverse backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. Recruiting and mentoring staff to
create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes,
national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, gender identities, military or veteran status or other status protected by law.
May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, in hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances
Minimum Qualifications
Master's Degree in agricultural-ecology, or the combination of soil science and ecology and 2 years of experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience
Relevant experience in sustainable food systems, with primary focus on environment, climate change
Ability to write clearly, succinctly and convincingly listens and communicates effectively to engage others
Ability to manage multiple work streams simultaneously and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment
Ability to work effectively with people of different national and cultural background
Full command of English, including the ability to set out a coherent argument in English in writing, presentations, and group interactions
Desired Qualifications
Master’s degree and 3-5 years’ experience of working on sustainable food systems, environment, climate and/or issues in the context of rural development, or a Ph.D.
Working knowledge in soil health, hydrology, climate science, and/or terrestrial and wetland carbon sequestration/accounting
Experience coordinating projects with private sector participation in a matrix organization, working across teams, operating units, and functions to achieve optimal results
Experience in building networks or organizational capacity, facilitating informational sessions, increasing internal knowledge and capacity
Intimate knowledge and sensitivity with local and in-country social, economic, and political conditions and issues
Experience identifying key stakeholders and building and maintaining strategic partnerships, with experience working in local communities
Experience negotiating complex agreements and contracts
Experience in taking initiative and working independently or with minimal oversight
Excellent organization and coordination skills
Knowledge of another official language (esp. Kiswahili) commonly spoken in East and southern Africa is an asset

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