Saturday, September 10, 2011

Combining adaptation and mitigation in Latin American forests

Karin Holzknecht in AlertNet: The long held view that adaptation and mitigation are mutually exclusive approaches for reducing the impacts of climate change has been questioned in a recent study, with the beginnings of an integrative approach in many forestry projects in Latin America showing improved outcomes at the local level.

“Few climate change or forest policies address the linkages possible between adaptation and mitigation in the forestry sector. But in many ways, adaptation activities can increase the success of mitigation activities. Adaptation focuses on local issues, provides benefits at the local scale, and shows faster results in reducing the vulnerability of communities,” said Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) scientist Bruno Locatelli, lead author of the study published recently in Forests.

Adaptation (reducing the impacts of climate change) and mitigation (reducing the sources of carbon emissions) have been treated as two distinct approaches to climate change, with global negotiations and policies often focusing more on mitigation than adaptation.

While there is some contention as to whether adaptation and mitigation strategies should be pursued simultaneously, according to Locatelli there is a need to explore the linkages, trade-offs and synergies between these two options in order to understand their important roles in forest ecosystems. Locatelli and his team have been investigating the approaches to, and reasons for, including adaptation in mitigation projects (and vice versa) in Latin America to see whether mainstreaming integration is feasible.

In northern Peru, the German Company for International Cooperation’s (GTZ) project AdapCC has collaborated with an association of coffee producers to identify strategies to adapt to climate change. Agro-forestry in coffee production zones and upstream reforestation are expected to reduce the impacts of climate change on coffee production by improving water regulation and soil fertility, and reducing landslides and erosion....

A river meanders through a forest in Peru, shot by Håkan Svensson (Xauxa), Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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