Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Information flow is vital for ecosystem-based adaptation

Gabriela Ramirez Galindo in Reuters AlertNet: Identifying organizations that can bridge gaps in knowledge is an important step when seeking effective ways to design strategies for local adaptation to climate change, an expert in ecosystem-based adaptation has said.

Such organizations can help create collaborative partnerships between farmers, scientists and policy makers, according to Raffaele Vignola, director of the Latin American Chair of Environmental Decisions for Global Change at Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica.

“We have to acknowledge that adaptation takes place within complex and institutional governance contexts”, said Vignola, who conducted research into the Birris sub-watershed in central Costa Rica, where a combination of extreme rainfall, intensive horticulture and grazing dairy cattle on steep slopes has caused severe erosion, a problem for farmers and the hydropower sector.

The region upstream of the watershed is subject to intensive agricultural production. Over the past 40 years, the observed and projected increase in extreme precipitation events related to climate change promise to augment the vulnerability of these areas to soil erosion. At the same time, hydropower dams downstream are being affected by erosion upstream — leading to annual costs of more than $2 million to flush out sediment and dredge the dams.

Birris is part of the Reventazón watershed, Costa Rica’s main area for hydropower production where dams provide more than 37 percent of the country’s electricity supply. Interactions among actors with different interests, mandates, languages and comprehension of problems and solutions influence the way collective action can promote conservation in such vulnerable watersheds as Birris, Vignola said....

Rio Sucio, in Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, Costa Rica, shot by Tim Ross, public domain

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