Visiting senior research fellow
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- Tree ecology
- African dryland restoration
- Multi-stakeholder co-design and co-production of scientific knowledge
- Biodiversity conservation
- Local knowledge based natural-resource management
Deborah Goffner works in the Senegalese Sahel at the research-development interface in the context of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative
With expertise in plant biology and ecology, Goffner conducts research aimed at informing on-the-ground natural resource management decisions and interventions in the context of the African Great Green Wall project. As a visiting senior scientist at SRC, Goffner actively engages in discussions with SRC colleagues working in the African Sahel (i.e. Targeting Agricultural Invention (TAI), and more recently the GRAID programme) aimed at defining ways by which resilience, transformation theories, and complex adaptive systems thinking could be best applied to designing interventions that promote both environmental and human well-being.
Goffner is also research director in plant biology for the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).
She is also the coordinator of a French National Agency-funded project, FUTURE SAHEL; multi-scale approaches for best resource management practices of Sahelian landscapes in the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative context. Both SRC and the Senegalese National Green Wall Agency are partners of the FUTURE SAHEL endeavor.
Goffner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the University of Delaware, USA, a Master of Science from the University of California, Riverside in plant biology, and a PhD from the University of Toulouse III (France) in plant molecular biology. She is currently a CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) research director in plant biology.
After more than 25 years as an internationally recognized plant molecular biologist, she made a dramatic career change within the CNRS in 2011. Combining her knowledge of agriculture and plant biology with project coordination skills, she now heads of a series of tree biology-related research projects in the Senegalese Sahel within the Green Wall context. She is the “Environment, Plants and Societies” research team coordinator in the international CNRS research unit n°3189 “Environment, Health, and Societies.” Thanks to her integration within SRC, applying resilience and complex adaptive systems thinking has become an essential and attainable goal. When not at SRC, she is geographically based at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal.
News articles with Goffner, Deborah
Research news | 2021-03-01
Connecting drylands to the SDGs
XPaths is a Formas-funded research project that explores the critical issues of co-designing inclusive pathways towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Research news | 2020-09-23
Centre receives funding boost from Swedish research council Formas
Three projects looking at ways to realise the Sustainable Development Goals receive almost SEK 60 million in funding
Research news | 2019-05-17
The right tree at the right place
Why regreening the Sahel is more than just creating a wall of trees and why one initiative may actually succeed
Research news | 2016-10-12
On a mission to re-green the Sahel
A researcher's road trip on dusty roads, sleeping on floor mats and gathering data on a quest to halt desertification across the Sahel region
Publications by Goffner, Deborah
Unpacking decades of multi-scale events and environment-based development in the Senegalese Sahel: Lessons and perspectives for the future
Journal / article | 2021
A major challenge faced by human societies is to promote development that truly makes difference for people without jeopardizing their environment. This is particularly urgent in developing countries where, despite decades of development programs, local populations often live under poverty thresholds. With this study, we participate in the ongoing debate about the necessary global revision of development theory and practice in...
The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative as an opportunity to enhance resilience in Sahelian landscapes and livelihoods
Journal / article | 2019
Over the past 50 years, a large number of development initiatives have addressed the diverse social and ecological challenges in the Sahel, often focusing on a single entry point or action, resulting in only a limited degree of success. Within the last decade, the international development discourse has evolved to incorporate resilience thinking as a way to address more complex challenges. However, concrete examples as to how ...
Biodiversity field trials to inform reforestation and natural resource management strategies along the African Great Green Wall in Senegal
Journal / article | 2018
Forest restoration is carried out with varying objectives in mind, one of which is biodiversity conservation. The present study examines the extent by which tree biodiversity could potentially be maximized in the context of the pan-African Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGW). Towards this end, ten indigenous tree species were selected for study in the Ferlo region in Northern Senegal based on previou...