Climate change adaptation, water governance and Model Forests

Ibero-American Model Forest Network

Since 2012, the Jujuy Model Forest in Argentina, Chiquitano Model Forest in Bolivia and Araucarias del Alto Malleco Model Forest in Chile have been working together on EcoAdapt, an action-research project that promotes the integration of work between science and civil society to identify effective techniques for climate change adaptation with an emphasis on water governance. The EcoAdapt project has been funded for a period of four years by the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme.
 
The project builds on two premises: 1) adaptation to climate change is not something that can be done in isolation, and 2) ecosystem‐based management is a sound basis for successful adaptation to climate change in Latin America.
 
Knowledge sharing forms the foundation of the project and provides scientists and policy‐makers with an in‐depth insight into local knowledge and issues, which frame the research to be conducted during the project. Civil Society Organizations provide knowledge through their work with the natural environment and populations, while researchers provide knowledge from their work in the social and biophysical sciences.
 
EcoAdapt is an ambitious, complex and demanding project. This job of combining different types of knowledge and collectively generating new knowledge is the real challenge to supporting the participating Model Forests in Latin America.
 
In hopes of strengthening water governance at local levels, EcoAdapt has developed quick-start actions in the Model Forests, each representing innovative experiences for climate change adaptation.
 
For example, in the Jujuy Model Forest, EcoAdapt is implementing an efficient irrigation system for horticultural production in one of the areas prioritized by local actors. In the communities of Lonquimay and Curacautín of Alto Malleco Model Forest, EcoAdapt is working on watershed protection through reforestation activities in order to reduce erosion and preserve the region’s water resources.
 
In the municipality of Concepcion in the Chiquitano Model Forest, climate change adaptation begins with the creation of a government-recognized action group focused on the sustainable management of the Zapoco Basin. EcoAdapt is concentrating on the group’s capacity building efforts in areas of fire prevention and sustainable farming practices, for example. It hopes to replicate this action plan in other municipalities.
 
Climate change has far reaching implications for sustainable livelihoods, food security, health, water availability and biodiversity. Model Forests, with their landscape-scale platforms and broad stakeholder engagement are ideally suited to carry out climate change research, develop community adaptation and mitigation strategies and monitor such efforts over the long term.
 
For more information:
 
• Jujuy Model Forest website
• Chiquitano Model Forest website
• Alto Malleco Model Forest website (in Spanish) 
• EcoAdapt
• European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme