IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

13.5 Adaptation: practices, options and constraints

13.5.1 Practices and options Natural ecosystems

Some options to increase the capacity to adapt to climate change include the reduction of ecosystem degradation in Latin America through the improvement and reinforcement of policy, planning and management. According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), Biringer et al. (2005), FAO (2004b), Laurance et al. (2001), Brown et al. (2000) and Nepstad et al. (2002), these options are basically as follows.

  • In the government context: integrate decision-making between different departments and sectors and participate in international institutions in order to ensure that policies are focused on the protection of ecosystems.
  • Identify and exploit synergies: taking advantage of synergies between proposed and existing adaptation policies and actions can provide significant benefits to both endeavours (Biringer et al., 2005).
  • Procure the empowerment of marginalised groups so as to influence the decisions that affect them and their ecosystem services, and campaign for legal recognition of local communities’ ownership of natural resources. This option is the key to reducing the incidence of forest fires.
  • Include sound valuation and management of ecosystem services in all regional planning decisions and in poverty reduction strategies, e.g., Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project in Bolivia and Río Bravo Carbon Sequestration Pilot Project in Belize.
  • Establish additional protected areas, particularly the biological or ecological corridors, for preserving the connections between protected areas, with the aim of preventing the fragmentation of natural habitats. Some programmes and projects involving actions with different degrees of implementation are: the Meso-American Biological Corridor; Binational Corridors (e.g., Tariquía-Baritú between Argentina and Bolivia, Vilcabamba-Amboro between Peru and Bolivia, Cóndor Kutukú between Peru and Ecuador, Chocó–Manabí between Ecuador and Colombia), the natural corridor projects under way in Brazil’s Amazon region and the Atlantic forests of Colombia (e.g., Corredor Biológico Guácharos–Puracé and Corredor de Bosques Altoandinos de Roble); those in Venezuela (e.g., Corredor Biológico de la Sierra de Portuguesa), Chile (e.g., Corredor entre la Cordillera de los Andes y la Cordillera de la Costa and Proyecto Gondwana), and some initiatives in Argentina (e.g., Iniciativa Corredor de Humedales del Litoral Fluvial de la Argentina, Corredor Verde de Misiones, and Proyecto de Biodiversidad Costera).
  • Tropical countries in the region can reduce deforestation through adequate funding of programmes designed to enforce environmental legislation, support for economic alternatives to extensive forest clearing (including carbon crediting), and building capacity in remote forest regions, as recently suggested in part of the Brazilian Amazon (Nepstad et al., 2002; Fearnside, 2003). Moreover, substantial amounts of forest can be saved in protected areas if adequate funding is available (Bruner et al., 2001; Pimm et al., 2001).
  • Monitoring and evaluating (M&E) adaptation strategy impacts on biodiversity. The process of monitoring change in biological systems can be complex and resource-intensive, requiring involved observation and data collection, painstaking analysis, etc. Care should be taken to ensure that an M&E plan is developed which ensures a robust yet streamlined M&E process (Biringer et al., 2005).
  • Agroforestry using agroecological methods offers strong possibilities for maintaining biological diversity in Latin America, given the overlap between protected areas and agricultural zones (Morales et al., 2007).