Cambio climático y agricultura de pequeña escala en los Andes ecuatorianos: un estudio sobre percepciones locales y estrategias de adaptación

Doribel Herrador-Valencia & Myriam Paredes

The tropical Andes have been declared one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to climate change. Processes of glacial decline, including their altogether disappearance, as well as notable changes in rainfall patterns presently affect the region. This research took place in two distinct ecological zones of the northern highlands of Ecuador: premontaine dry forest and montaine wet forest. The authors collected and analyzed data on perceptions of men and women small-scale farmers with regard to the experiences with changes in climate variables. Subsequently, findings were contrasted with available official weather change data. In addition, the authors studied perceptions with regard to perceived causes of climate change and the level of risk, and the research explored different individual and collective coping and adaptation measures. The research identified that perceptions of climate change variables concurred with available meteorological data. Nevertheless, farmers from both zones had great difficulty predicting climate change and thought that they must not only be prepared to react to adverse events. The research also underlines local organizational capacity, necessary for the construction of adaptive strategies. In this work we manifest the importance of understanding local context with the end of designing intervention programs of small-scale agriculture in the Ecuadorian Andes.