Vulnerability, Impact and Adaptation

The Gran Chaco Americano

mapa gran chacoA consortium of three institutions: Universidad Nacional de Formosa (Argentina), Universidad de la Cordillera -Fundación la Cordillera (Bolivia) and Desarrollo, Participación y Ciudadanía (Paraguay) (UNF-UC-FC-DPC) were responsible for conducting the VIA analysis in the Gran Chaco Americano, which encompasses Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay (Figure 2). The analysis focused on agriculture and water resources at the regional scale and at a local scale in three communities in Paraguay with an emphasis on the local adaptive capacity.

Exposure: The outputs from the climate change scenarios generated from the Global Circulation Model (GCM) HADCM3 was downscaled (based on the IPCC A2 scenario) for the region. The results show an increase in the average annual temperature of over 1°C and in some areas such as Santa Cruz, Bolivia reaching a high of 1.75°C for the period of 2040. The results from the changes in precipitation are less certain; however the general trend demonstrates variations in seasonal and spatial distribution of rainfall. Figure 3 presents the changes in average temperature and precipitation from the baseline for the region.


Figure 3: Changes in Average Annual Temperature and Precipitation

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Sensitivity: A set of key crops were selected for analysis based on their importance to the national economy and local food security. The analysis evaluated the changes in crop yields due to future changes in temperature and precipitation. The results show that kidney beans, sorghum and maize are the crops that have the greatest sensitivity to variations in climate resulting in reductions in crop yields. Other crops may benefit from the future changes in climate such as rice and cotton. Figure 4 presents the results from the analysis of the sensitivity of maize in the province of Formosa showing a clear reduction in future crop yields compared to the baseline.  

Figure 4: Variations in Crop Yields in the Province of Formosa, Argentina

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Adaptive capacity: An Index of Adaptive Capacity was constructed based on the selection of a set of indicators to measure the social, economic, political, natural and human resources of the population. Figure 5 presents the departments in the Gran Chaco Americano that were evaluated as having a low adaptive capacity mainly due to their high dependence on agriculture, a lack of infrastructure to manage water resources (e.j. irrigation systems; rainwater catchment systems) and limited institutional capacity.

Figure 5: Departments in the Gran Chaco Americano with a Low Adaptive Capacity

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Ecosystem services: An analysis of the resilience of ecosystems was carried out using GIS to generate maps of ecoregions and land cover change. The results in Figure 6 show the areas (in red) that have lost a greater proportion of their natural cover. These areas are considered to have a lower resilience to climate change. The results from this assessment can be useful for developing an adaptation strategy that emphasizes using Ecosystem-based Adaptation measures by enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of the areas in green and promoting regeneration of the areas in red.

Figure 6: Map of Ecosystem Resilience

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Adaptation Options: In each country participatory adaptation planning workshops were held to identify and prioritize adaptation options with the participation of local and national governments, research institutions, NGOs and community organizations. Common adaptation options identified in each country include: incorporating ecosystem-based adaptation practices in the agriculture sector such as agroforestry and silvopastorial systems and developing rainwater catchment and storage systems.

Figure 7: Adaptation Planning Workshop in Formosa, Argentina (July 02nd 2013)

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For more information and the complete study: