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Project Eco-Adapt

EcoAdapt: “Ecosystem-based strategies and innovations in governance networks for adaptation to climate change in Latin American Landscapes”

Project coordinator: CIRAD (France)

Research Partners: CATIE (Costa Rica–CATIE is also Regional Coordinator), SEI (Oxford, UK), The Global Network for Forest Science Cooperation (IUFRO, Austria)

CSOs: Civil Society Organizations in seven Iberoamerican countries where model forest platforms are successfully operating namely: FCBC (Bosque Chiquitano, Bolivia); CIEBREG/Comite Departmental de Cafeteros (Risaralda, Colombia); Asociacion Bosque Modelo Jujuy (Jujuy, Argentina); FMPC (Cartago, Costa Rica); Funda Lachua (Lachua, Guatemala); SEPADE (Alto Malleco, Chile); Bosque Modelo de Urbion (Spain); and Fundacion Futuro latinoamericano (FFLA, Ecuador).

Allies: RIOCC (Spain, Latin American network of Climate Change Offices); Forestry School and Institute for Environment, Resources and Sustainability of University of British Columbia (Canada); Department of Adaptation to Climate Change and Ecosystem Services of CIFOR; Latin American Universities in participating countries; Secretary of the Mediterranean Network of Model Forests; and Voluntary Services Oversea (VSO-UK).

Latin America is increasingly being affected by extreme weather conditions. Scientists around the world are now trying to find out to what extent the degree and impact of these extreme weather conditions will increase in the future and in how far these factors are influenced by the development of a certain area. Although it may prove difficult to determine with certainty how, when and where these impacts will occur, development measures need to take  possible negative consequences into account in order to combat them and also take advantage of any positive changes. This describes what is meant by “adaptation to climate change”, which is of key importance for those areas that are already now marked by various ecosystem stresses and open or possible future conflicts among stakeholders about natural resource use, especially water resources.

The project was initiated in January 2012 and is financed by the European Union for a period of four years. The project’s overall objective is to develop ecosystem-based strategies of adaption to climate change in three model forests in Latin America: Chiquitano in Bolivia, Jujuy in Argentina, and Araucarias de Alto Malleco in Chile. EcoAdapt implementation comprises 5 stages, starting off with a phase of participatory diagnosis of about two years, i.e. with an analysis of local knowledge and learning processes as well as context and knowledge gaps. In the consecutive phase of the project knowledge gaps are filled, also with respect to the relationships between decision makers of ecosystem management and water resources, and socio-economic dynamics at the project sites. In the third phase it is envisaged to develop in a participatory manner scenarios of adaptation, leading to the fourth phase of adaptation strategy implementation. Finally, in last phase, the results of the project are disseminated at national, regional and global scale.

EcoAdapt is meant to prove that scientists and organizations of civil society working together is essential to design socially and technically sound strategies for adaptation to climate change. Key organizations of civil society contribute their experience and knowledge obtained through their work with the natural environment and local people, while scientists contribute scientific knowledge gained from their work in social sciences and biophysics. Thus, the true challenge of this project is to combine different types of knowledge and - based thereon - generating new findings useful for adaptation strategies.

The experiences and outcomes will then be evaluated with a view to apply these approaches in other regions of a world, in order to avoid conflict over water resources which may be exacerbated by the effects of climate change. For this purpose EcoAdapt works at different levels. It uses existing networks of organizations, strengthens and expands them, so that the results can be shared and new ideas can be introduced in the project.