My scientific work in Kenya entails research that regards the environment and biodiversity as global natural capital and biological heritage that is fundamentally crucial for long term human survival, development and enjoyment. The cosmopolitan and nature of birds presents a particularly demonstrable inspiration for humans to strive for borderless environmental stewardship. In my ornithological research, I study bird conservation issues revolving around priority species such as endangered species and habitats under anthropogenic pressure; I highlight birds as drivers of ecological service provision, or as agents of human economy, both positively (e.g. in tourism and education) and negatively (e.g. as crop pests or invasives). My latest project involved the economic valuation of crop loss by farmers from damage by flocks of Red-billed Quelea at a rice irrigation scheme in western Kenya, and its implications for rural food security. My other focus is to use biodiversity informatics tools to mobilize and package scientific information or existing biodiversity records into such forms that can be used for either policy formulation or for bottom-up decision support by grass-root stakeholders.
Nickson is working with Fassil Gebeyehu (2011), Silva Materu (2013), Girma Mensuro (2012), Temesgen Olango (2013) and various GESA resource people to organise the Global Environments Regional Academy – East Africa funded by the Alumni Innovation Fund.