Our work

- Design of participatory tools for the socioeconomic classification of farms representative of -landscape windows- in Loreto (Peru) and Caquetá (Colombia).

Socioeconomic baseline: the survey designed for the socioeconomic classification of farms representative of -landscape windows- in Loreto (Peru) and Caquetá (Colombia) was implemented. These surveys were conducted using mobile devices (tablets) in both study areas in the first half of 2016. “http://blog.ciat.cgiar.org/es/construyendo-capacidades-locales-en-el-uso-de-dispositivos-moviles”. These surveys also included a climate change module, which included questions to explore farmers perceptions regarding the effects of climate change.

- Selection of representative farms to characterize current and potential carbon stocks, plant and soil biodiversity and hydrological ecosystem services.

The Project defined the units of analysis (i.e. landscape units) within the study areas in Colombia and Peru. As well, the methodologies and sampling design were prepared for the field data collection.

• 35 farms and 151 sites sampled in Colombia

• 38 farms and 221 sites sampled in Peru

Environmental baseline: soils sampling was conducted in the study areas under diverse land uses/cover of the landscapes units, the samples were then analysed in regards to soil characteristics that affect water balance under diverse land uses/covers and characteristics used to estimate soil carbon stocks and soil biodiversity samples.

We also initiated the sampling to estimate above and below ground carbon stocks, vegetation biodiversity, and biomass with field teams that include GIS specialists, botanists, and soil sampling experts. As well, this information is being combined with collected socioeconomic data in order to assess the sustainability of the landscapes and farms.

- Application of farmer surveys and participatory methods to assess the sociological and economic characteristics at each study site.

15 surveyors in Colombia and Peru were trained, along with 8 field supervisors.

They carried out 341 surveys in Colombia and 416 in Peru. The surveys were complemented with 14 participatory research exercises at the community level, in the project study areas, attended by 60 farmers in total. During these exercises, their climate change perceptions and vulnerability were discussed, as well as their local perceptions about livelihoods.

- Analysis of data to determine socioeconomic baseline characteristics in selected farms.

The collected information has been placed into a database and is currently being used to design the sustainability index using the sustainable livelihood framework.

- Development of participatory synthetics indicators of sustainability and calculate them at farm and landscape level and validation of proposed sustainability indicators

The coordination of the project has organized multidisciplinary working groups with project members with the aim of developing an indicator of sustainability at the household level and at the landscape level. A sustainability index is a set of indicators that shed light on the level of sustainability of the area. We used the sustainable livelihood framework for choosing our indicators, which are clustered into five groups based on the type of capital: natural, physical, social, financial and human. The proposed indicator is to be discussed with local farmers.

- Projection of climatic conditions for the Caquetá and Loreto sites for the period 2012-2069, derived from Global Circulation Models (GCM)/Regional Scenarios using the new RCP carbon emissions scenarios (best/worst case).

For historical conditions, we collected weather station information from different sources including: Global Summary of the day (GSOD), Global Historical Climatological Network (GHCN), IDEAM (Colombia) and SENAMHI (Peru). We performed a spatial interpolation with this information producing 2.5-arc min (5km) surfaces for accumulated rainfall and monthly minimum and maximum temperatures.

For future conditions, we created spatial projections of the future climate change of the region for the periods of the 2030s, 2050s and 2070s, derived from 14 Global Circulation Models (GCM) and using three RCP carbon emissions scenarios (best/middle/worst case). As with the current conditions, we produced 2.5-arc min (5km) surfaces for accumulated rainfall and monthly minimum and maximum temperatures.

- Prediction of shifts in suitable growth ranges of plant species growing in the agricultural frontier using a set of crop niche models (MAXENT, Ecocrop, etc) and/or crop growth models software and the present and future climatic conditions. The model will be validated with local information.

Key plant, crop and tree species have been identified using information derived from the focal groups and with partners. Methods to model the distributions and to project the potential impacts of climate change have been selected. The project prepared and processed the climatic information and produced a complete set of 30yr-monthly averaged surfaces both for historical and for future conditions, according to the modeling region defined in 2015 (Napo Moist Forest Ecoregion, which is made up of two terrestrial ecoregions: Ucayali moist forests and Napo moist forests). These are the inputs being used for the crop and species models, which quantify shifts in suitability of agricultural systems within the project areas.

We have carried out suitability runs for four of the staple crops of the Amazon, selected for their importance in the diets of the Amazon communities and for the size of their harvested area in each country. Plantain, cassava, maize and rice were modeled using the EcoCrop model, both for historical and future conditions.

- Identification of areas where the provision of water-related ecosystem services could be greatly affected by climate change, by means of hydrological modeling considering current land uses and climatic conditions vs. expected changes in land use/cover and climatic conditions.

We have identified regions in South America that contribute to the moisture recycling services of our case study regions in Colombia and Peru. Furthermore, we are investigating the role of the case study areas in the provisioning of moisture recycling services to other regions of South America.

- Design of protocols for participatory design of sustainable productions systems. Participatory design (involving farmers, economists and policy makers) of renewed rural landscapes incorporating sustainable production systems and natural ecosystems for deforested areas. This will consider the management practices that are known to improve below and above -ground carbon stocks.

We selected the farm and farmer participants for the design and subsequent implementation of sustainable land uses. These farmers were invited to participatory workshops where likely land use and management options were discussed and co-designed between farmers and technicians. For this reason the Project developed a manual, based on participatory methods, for the co-design of sustainable land uses, which was validated and used accordingly.

As part of the guidelines provided in the manual, two co-design workshops (of 4 days each) were held with farmers in each country. During these workshops, the farmers became familiar with sustainable land use/management practices already employed by other farmers and obtained information about their socioeconomic and environmental benefits and trade-offs. The Project also prepared a draft (together with the farmers) of the possible interventions that the Project will co-invest in on their farms. Finally, every farmer produced their own farm map identifying the appropriate areas to implement the practices as well as those forested areas that the farmers are committed to continue conserving. A series of photographs documenting this workshop is available here: “https://www.flickr.com/photos/131075783@N02/sets/72157670220127814”.

- Validation of production systems, proposed jointly with farmers, in terms of its compatibility with expected changes in the suitability of crops and in water regimes under the forecast changes in climate.

Based on a literature review and the advances of PIK in assessing sustainability at the national scale, CIAT has proposed, together with UNIAMAZ and CIPAV, a methodological approach to assessing the sustainability of the households and landscapes which are a part of our local study areas. This approach was presented and validated together with the other project partners during the project annual meeting in March 2017, where next steps to produce the sustainability indicator were be planned. All data collected from the surveys is being pre-analyzed using Principal Component Analyses in order to pre-select likely variables that can be used as sub-indicators to feed into the overall sustainability indicator.

- Cost-Benefit analysis from a private and social perspective of designed landscapes and respective land use alternatives compared to the current land uses. This will consider the potential effect of reducing GHG, on water ecosystem services and the benefits of adapting landscapes to plausible impacts of climate change. The benefits of conserving biodiversity and hydrological services will be quantified via economic valuation.

We have advanced in collecting data about the costs of implementing sustainable options under the study area conditions in Caquetá, as well as finished collecting data on costs of silvopastoral and agroforestry systems. In Peru, information from the implementation plans of land use/management options, co-designed with farmers, will be used to estimate actual costs, which will be compared with their effectiveness in enhancing local adaptation capacities of farm households.

- Results will be synthesized in an adaptation cost curve and used to inform national policy.

We carried out a literature review on previous studies of adaptation cost curves (ACC). We plan to develop ACCs based on the literature analysis and the results of a cost benefit analysis, using the data collected from the household surveys. Additionally, we have proposed a workshop on this topic for the Impact World 2017 conference in Potsdam to generate a broader discussion.

- Cost-Benefit analysis of public intervention measures that facilitate the scaling up of designed alternatives and prioritization of these measures based on cost-efficiency curves, at the light of transition pathways towards sustainable development.

- Training to technical advisors of subnational and national policy makers in cost-benefit analysis of local and national interventions to improve adaptation capacities.

- Training of, and continued knowledge exchange with, farmers to ensure understanding of their common goals and principles of proposed land use options.

During the co-design process, the farmers in Colombia also visited the silvopastoral systems’ species showcase, installed in the Universidad de Amazonia experimental station by the project. This has facilitated the exchange of knowledge regarding forages and shrubs suitable for designing silvopastoral systems within the study sites and has also been used for farmers’ field days oriented towards demonstrating performance and adaptability of plant species options for more sustainable livestock systems. In Peru, two participatory workshops were conducted to train the farmers on i) the recognition of macrofauna species as indicators of soil quality, and ii) the use of organic manure for improving fertility on project farms.

- Implementation of pilots of proposed sustainable land uses by providing technical support, in kind or monetary support and continued dialogue with stakeholders

After the end of the co-design workshops, the Project made significant progress towards the implementation of agreed upon land use based options. These advances have included individual visits to selected farmers to validate: farm maps and areas where such options will be implemented, sustainable practices preferences, and farmers commitments made during the co-design workshops. As an agreement with the selected farmers, the Project has also verified critical areas for conservation within each farm. We are currently working with 24 farmers and their families in Caquetá (Colombia), and we have demarcated 97 hectares for our pilot plots (21 for conservation within farms and 76 for sustainable production systems, specifically four silvopastoral options). We are also working with 19 farmers and their families in Yurimaguas (Peru), and we have demarcated 175 hectares for our pilot plots (107 for conservation within farms, and 68 for sustainable production systems). The production systems in Peru include cacao within agroforestry systems, fallows enrichment using trees, trees within pasture lands, and silvopastoral systems.

Once the areas for the sustainable land use options were defined, we carried out the physical, chemical and biological soils testing necessary before the establishment of the sustainable land use based options.

Future activities:

- Creation and socialization of a network of farms with land use-based adaptation measures that serve to implement field days where a -Farmer to farmer- strategy is in place to disseminate knowledge on the likely effects of climate change in this region and the implemented sustainable land use systems and practices designed in these pilot farms.

- Implementation of a monitoring protocol to measure indicators to enable ongoing verification of the impacts of land use-based adaptation alternatives on carbon stocks, water services and socioeconomic conditions.

- Design of a system that will measure the efficiency of grass root initiatives in terms of GHG accounting.

- Construction of a theoretical framework which allows the identification and modelling of potential options for a sustainability transition in the respective countries/regions.

A scientific manuscript on a theoretical model framework that allows for identification and modelling of various potential options for sustainable, low-carbon development transitioning was submitted for publication. The framework provides an understanding on the relation between CO2 emissions and human development, which is of great importance because both - i.e. low-carbon and highly-developed societies - are at the core of sustainable solutions for the climate crisis. Additionally, we are investigating transition dynamics and sustainable low-carbon pathways by analyzing the evolution of sectoral greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for each country from 1950 onwards, globally.

- Development of an integrated concept, to identify, characterize and analyze potential transition pathways towards sustainability in the Amazon region, using a whole-of-system approach.

We published an article on food waste and associated GHG emissions at the consumer level on a country-wide scale: “http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b05088”, as a potential indicator for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our article drew a lot media attention and was covered by Scientific American. Furthermore, we developed a scientific concept to identify how far Colombia and Peru may be able to go in achieving the SDGs by 2030 under a business as usual scenario. Beyond emission pathways, we are additionally investigating the typical development typologies and transition pathways that existed between 1990 and 2014, globally, using different indicators under four livelihood characteristics: subsistence, infrastructure, socioeconomics and environment. These indicators are also related to the SDGs. The insights from this investigation will allow us to identify typical development patterns and associated transition pathways for Colombia and Peru.

- Expert workshops to adjust the framework to local and regional/departmental (subnational) requirements and settings to assess how to optimize local livelihood resources and income generation with sustainable development of tropical forest resources.

We held our first workshop during the first Latin American Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) Conference that took place in CIAT Headquarters, at Palmira, Colombia, 18–21 October 2016. The Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development of Colombia attended the workshop and also presented an overview on Colombia’s plans and policies for sustainable development. The workshop was also attended by all the project partners, as well as other conference participants.

- Development and analysis of potential development pathways, permitting the identification of trade-offs between pathways; identification of potential feedbacks and side-effects of different strategies.

We initiated an analysis on synergies and trade-offs among the SDGs using the official SDG indicators, globally and individually for Colombia and Peru. We also started a systematic study on SDG synergies and trade-offs for communicating our approach to scientific communities.

- Incorporating feedback from local partners, CIAT, in combination with the Ministry of Environment will adapt and calibrate the terra-I model to the national and regional (sub-national) scale so as to analyze habitat changes every 16 days in the study area. This model, developed by CIAT, uses information from the MODIS sensor (Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) at a 250 m resolution and every 16 days (250 m resolution). The indexes provided by the model allow the comparison of temporal and spatial changes in the vegetation. For the study sites, the terra-I model will be validated with information gathered in the field in order to apply the model at a more detailed scale. The results of the model could be visualized freely from its web-site.

The Terra-I-Peru system is available at: “http://terra-i.org/terra-i/data/data-terra-i_peru”. Most of our efforts have been oriented towards installing all of the required capacities at MINAM to run and use Terra-I, as well as on dissemination and training of the Terra-I system.

- Development of an accounting system that will measure the efficiency of gross root initiatives in terms of GHG accounting will be developed.

- Establishment of a reporting system that helps to monitor emissions and to implement a transferable and transparent accounting system.

We developed further concepts for estimating GHG emissions from deforestation using different deforestation datasets, including Terra-I. These concepts include an additional feature of being able to consider the type of land use change occurring after deforestation, i.e. accounting for the different emissions both above ground and from soil. Based on household surveys, we initiated the development of an automated accounting system that takes into account both traditional GHG emission elements, i.e. emissions arising from livestock and crops, as well as the aforementioned land use change considerations.

- Workshop to validate and disseminate with national and sub-national decision makers, their technical advisors and researchers from national organizations, the climate change projections and their likely impacts on the shift of suitability of crops and the availability of water in Project areas.

- Dialogue with policy makers and their advisors (at the national and sub-national level) about likely policy options and actions (to be part of climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies) that can help to overcome barriers for the adoption of land use-based adaptation alternatives.

- Training to organizations researchers that advise environmental policy making in the countries as well as technical advisors working directly for national/subnational governments.

- Design a plan of activities, jointly with Ministries of Environment divisions responsible for the formulation of plans, programs and strategies oriented to tackle climate change and deforestation, in order to ensure that project results are coupled with the formulation process of these instruments.

- Formulation of a plan of activities with farmers participating in the design of sustainable land uses in order to facilitate project progress revisions and share a common understanding on roles and timelines.

- Conduct periodic exchanges with countries teams in charge of designing and implementing forest investment funds for climate change mitigation, NAMAs and NAPAS; as well as with the national commission of climate change and the national forest program (in Peru); to receive their feedback in project intermediate results and to disseminate project results.

- Dialogue with policy makers from the national and sub-national level (regional or departmental governments) about options to transit towards a sustainable development that considers mitigation and adaptation objectives and the associated costs.