Vulnerability, Impact and Adaptation

The Andes

andes fig8The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) conducted the VIA analysis in the Andean region. The geographical boundaries of the study were limited to the Andean regions in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru (Figure 8). The objective of the analysis was to determine the impacts of climate change on agriculture and water availability, considering the adaptive capacity of the population to cope with these impacts.

Exposure: The outputs from 19 GCM Earth System models were statistically downscaled based on the IPCC A2 scenario. The results (Figure 9) show that the region is likely to experience an increase in temperature, which may be as high as 2°C in the northern region of Colombia and the southern region of Peru. Changes in precipitation are much more uncertain; however the trends show that areas in central Peru and northern Colombia may experience a reduction in precipitation, whereas the central region of Colombia and most of the Ecuadorian region may experience an increase. In all regions the seasonal distribution will likely change.


Figure 9: Change in Average Annual Temperature and Precipitation

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Sensitivity: For each country a set of key crop were selected for analysis based on their importance to the economy or to local food security. The results show that some crops such as yucca, cacao and plantains may benefit from the changes in climate gaining production in new areas such as in the lower elevations of the Andes, whereas other crops such as potatoes and beans may lose suitability in the areas where they are currently cultivated. Figure 10 presents the areas in Peru that are most sensitive to changes in climate for the production of maize. Strong losses are expected to occur in the lower regions of the Peruvian Andes, however as the elevation increases the impacts are reduced until in some provinces the changes in climate become favorable for the future production of maize.

Figure 10: Changes in Suitability for Maize Production in Peru (2030 and 2050)

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To identify the population that has the greatest sensitivity to the impacts of climate change on agriculture the study identified the municipalities in each country with the highest levels of poverty and overlaid the results from the crop analyses. Figure 11 shows the results from Colombia, the areas in black experience high levels of poverty and are expected to experience high losses in the production of key crops for food security.

Figure 11: Areas of High Poverty and High Sensitivity of Crops for Food Security (Colombia)

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Adaptive Capacity: Indicators were selected to measure the economic, human, social, natural and physical resources of the population. Due to differences in data availability and scales unique indicators were used in each country to evaluate the adaptive capacity and therefore the results cannot be compared. Table 1 presents the results from Ecuador highlighting the municipalities with the lowest levels of adaptive capacity.These municipalities are highly dependent on agriculture and are expected to lose a high amount of their area for crop production as well as having high levels of poverty, population density and migration. In the Table, green represents a favorable condition for adaptive capacity and red represents an unfavorable condition, the darker the shade the more pronounced the condition.

Table 1: Municipalities in Ecuador that are most Exposed to Climate Change and Adaptive Capacity Indicators.

 Tabla Ecuador

Ecosystem Services: Based on stakeholder consultations and local knowledge of the area the impacts of climate change on the key ecosystem services were evaluated qualitatively. Table 2 presents an example of some of the ecosystem services that were evaluated and the potential threats from climate change.

Table 2: Ecosystem Services and Impacts from Climate Change

Ecosystem Service Threats from Climate Change Impact
Biodiversity and habitat Loss and migration of species Medium
Water resources, regulation of runoff and floods Reduced level of water availability, droughts, flooding, changes in the water cycle and prolonged precipitation High
Mitigation of risks Changes in the precipitation cycles resulting in flooding a mass removal High





Adaptation Options: Participatory adaptation planning workshops were held in each of the three countries with representatives from the national and local government, agriculture cooperatives, local NGOs and research institutions. In each country adaptation options were identified relevant to the local context and study results. In Colombia, six of the identified and prioritized adaptation options include:

  • Improve agro-climate forecasts and channels of communication of the information in order to effectively reach agricultural producers.
  • Investments in the implementation of conservation measures and protection of watersheds.
  • Investments in participatory research in collaboration with agricultural producers.
  • Strengthen technical assistance for training in climate change for technical government specialists.
  • At the farm level, promote programs on training and supporting the implementation of rainwater harvesting techniques.
  • Implement a system of microfinance to promote activities in agriculture conservation, restoration and conservation of watersheds.

Figure 12: Adaptation Planning Workshop in Giradot, Colombia (July 16th 2013)

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For more information and the full study: