Agrobiodiversity Conservation as a Coping Strategy: Adapting to Climate Change in the Northern Highlands of Bolivia

Baldinelli, Giulia Maria

This article is the result of my observations in two Aymara communities of the Northern Bolivian Altiplano, where I am collecting data for my PhD thesis. My thesis aims to explore the connections between on-farm conservation of local crop varieties and migration of Aymara people away from their communities of origin in the Altiplano to urban areas. While studying the conservation of agrobiodiversity performed by Bolivian farmers, I investigated the use of different crop varieties, conserved by indigenous people, in response to climate change. The consequences of climate change are evident in the rural areas of the Altiplano Norte: prolonged droughts, followed by heavy precipitations and floods. Agriculture is severely affected by such extreme climatic events and the response of the farmers varies. In this article, I focus on a possible adaptation approach enabled by a strategic use of the numerous crop varieties that many Aymara farmers still own. Although the relevant knowledge is slowly being lost, some agrobiodiversity “champions” still hold it and use it to adapt sustainably to new climatic conditions. Research about the agronomic characteristics and the use of local varieties is still needed to provide indigenous farmers with further options to face environmental and climatic change in the Altiplano Norte.


Also Published In

Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development

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Academic Units
Earth Institute
Published Here
December 8, 2015