Overall Project Objective
The main objective is to inquire into the mechanisms and consequences of the impacts of climate change on native agrobiodiversity, especially on native potatoes and wild varieties through applying the conceptual framework and methodology of the IPCCA. Agrobiodiversity in the Potato Park is defined as the diversity and variety of plants, animals and microorganisms and the biocultural systems linked to agriculture and food.
Brief Description of Project:
The objective of the assessment to inquiry into the mechanisms and consequences of the impacts of climate change on native agrobiodiversity will be reached through using an autonomous process. The conceptual framework and methodology of the IPCCA will be applied and the communities of the Potato Park will inquire into the processes related to climate change impacts, and to systematically evaluate how the climate is changing, how it is projected to change in the future, and what the possible impacts of the change will be on local biocultural systems, paying particular attention to food sovereignty, Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) and Sumaq Kausay (Buen Vivir).
Local ecosystem, resource management and livelihoods practices:
The communities of the Potato Park maintain a relationship of respect and harmony with Pacha Mama (Mother Earth), based on traditional principles of reciprocity, equilibrium and duality which form the pillars of Sumaq Kausay or Buen Vivir. The great cultural and biological diversity found in the Park is a living manifestation of Sumaq Kausay. The area is a recognised centre of origin of native potatoes, housing important domesticated and wild varieties. This diversity is the product of the creativity and innovation of the Quechua peoples.
The conservation, creation and celebration of this rich biogenetic diversity and their habitats creates multiple options for local subsistence. By implementing the Potato Park as a Territory of Biocultural Heritage the inhabitants are developing iniatives of a “Creative Collective Economy” based on their local biocultural heritage, including (i) agro-ecotourism; (ii) traditional and novo-andean gastronomy; (iii) natural medicines, cosmetics and functional food, among others. There is also a local registry of biocultural resources which has the objective of protecting and promoting the collective biocultural heritage.
The Potato Park also houses beautiful landscapes of lakes and high mountain ecosystems, producing a great diversity of habitats including glaciers, lakes, native forests, pasturelands, rivers, wetlands and cultivated land in terraced slopes that date back to the Incan times. Furthermore the Park contains a rich wild and domesticated fauna and flora with important archaeological and sacred sites from Incan and pre-Incan times as well as churches and art from the colonial period. This biocultural heritage is part of the biocultural agro-ecotourism program that offers visitors full immersion in the world of the native potato while enjoying landscapes and adventure through a circuit of trails, typical Andean dishes from the “Papa Marka” restaurant, interpretation of the local agroecosystem and biocultural heritage by local guides and the sale of artistic expressions related to agrobiodiversity.
The ecosystem services of the Park include cultural services (spirituality, traditional knowledge); provisioning services (water, food, medicine); supporting services (soil, primary production, polinization), and preserving services (biocultural diversity, sustainable management of resources).
Climatic conditions/trends in the assessment site
Global warming is creating dramatic impacts in the Andes. The glaciers of Peru have reduced by 22%, which mean a 12% reduction in water for the arid coastal region. The loss of water due to melting of the glaciers is equivalent to the water consumed by Lima, the capital of Peru in 10 years. Melting of glaciers is also increasing the risk of land slides and formation of lakes that are overflowing.
The increase in temperature is increasing the evaporatin of stored water. An important impact is the reduction of the Relativa wetland, reducing ground humidity and vegetation cover. It has been forecast that there will be a 12% to 50% reduction in productivity, as well as the proliferation of diseases such as dengue and malaria. Furthermore, rainfall has increased to at least an altitude of 200 metres above sea level. The frosts in the high mountain zone are getting stronger and are more frequent and until now they have caused dozens of deaths in the indigenous population.
Potential climate change impacts on the ecosystem and communities:
Visible impacts of climate change on the biocultural systems of the Potato Park are: (i) displacement of andean cultivars to higher ground, (ii) increase in the incidence of deseases and pests, (iii) decrease in available water, (iv) degradation of land dedicated to production of native potatoes and other basic crops, (v) instability in the climate with lower temperaturas, rain, drought, frosts and winds that are stronger and more frequent. The seasonal changes of rain are reducing the agricultural cycle, modifying the planting and harvesting season and making cultivation of a variety of native potatoes adapted to specific ecological niches difficult. The mortality of lambs has increased and high temperature during the day are reducing milk production. In the low lying areas, the increase in temperature is now enabling development of plants of temperate climates and easy adaptation of guinea pigs.
All of the impacts mentioned will significantly affect the traditional biocultural systems of the Quechua people, which in turn will affect subsistence, the local economy, biogenetic diversity, territorial administration, and cultural identity of the Potato Park communities.