Project will study the impacts of the climate change in the Amazon nature and ecosystems resilience
Sponsored by German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) based on a decision of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany, and WWF Germany the project entitled ‘Building resilience of the Amazon biome: Protected areas as an integral part of climate change adaptation’ supports the climate adaptation component of the Amazon Conservation Vision which was developed by the Amazon countries in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity Programme of Work on Protected Areas (CBD PoWPA).
The objective is to contribute to a direct positive impact on life quality and food security of local communities developing climate adaptation measures and planning instruments in pilot areas of the Eastern Cordillera Real Ecoregion that includes the eastern slopes of the Andes in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. The mountain grasslands (páramos) and cloud forests of the Amazonian slopes contribute to the hydrological regulation of major tributaries of the Amazon. They therefore play a crucial role in securing the ecological process of the Amazon biome and provide essential environmental services for around 200,000 inhabitants in the three focus regions (Alto Fragua in Colombia, Sangay-Llanganates in Ecuador, and Tabaconas Namballe in Peru).
The institutions involved are the National Parks Authority in Colombia, The National Service of Protected Areas in the Peruvian Environmental Ministry (SERNANP), the Biodiversity Department of the Ecuadorian Environmental Ministry, the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment/Secretariat for Biodiversity and Forests, RedParques (Latin American Network of Protected Areas), and WWF.
To be implemented from 2013 until 2016, the idea is to share best practices and lessons learned from the regional analyses and from the activities in a pilot landscape to influence activities in other landscapes of the Amazon region.
“The project is innovative and establishes a new approach on seeing another non-environmental service provided by protected areas: its role in adaptation to climate change”, explains Tarsicio Granizo, leader of WWF Living Amazon Initiative´s strategy for Protected Areas and Indigenous Territories.
“The findings and recommendations from the work at local, national and biome level will be presented at international level, especially in the UN conventions as CBD and UNFCCC, and in the World Park Congress in Australia 2014, to help address the role of the protected areas in biodiversity conservation and in climate change adaptation”, concludes Granizo.
With an extension of 6.7 million km2, the Amazon biome spans through nine countries - Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela, and French Guiana – and is the largest remaining contiguous rainforest in the planet.
The paradigm of an isolated and protected Amazon is no longer valid as it is being seen as frontiers for natural resources exploitation. The biome is increasingly under threat from logging, cattle ranching, farming, infrastructure and mining. The negative effects of these activities coupled with poor planning and weak governance are compounded by the impact of climate change.
The importance of the protected area system in the region is to ensure the conservation of biodiversity, curbing deforestation and maintaining the provision of essential ecological services including water systems, climate change mitigation, and social and cultural richness in benefit of people living in and around them.
About 400 protected areas have been established in the whole Amazon biome, representing over/around 160 million hectares officially protected. In fact, there is still a need to guarantee that all of different types of ecosystems are represented and protected and a huge effort to effectively address and include protected areas systems in public policies agenda.