Up to more good: New German support for sustainable development in the Amazon
A number of ongoing global projects supported by the German government, through GIZ, BMZ, and other German institutions, are using a wide range of approaches to confront climate change and build resilience, including developing improved forages to reduce nitrification in soil, preserving and leveraging crop diversity, and restoring degraded agroecosystems.
A new generous grant demonstrates once again that the German government has not only come to grips with climate change in food production, but is proactively helping the poor to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
A CIAT-led project entitled “Sustainable development options and land use-based alternatives to enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation capacities in the Colombian and Peruvian Amazon while enhancing ecosystem services and local livelihoods” will launch next month, in partnership with Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), SINCHI Institute, University of the Amazon, Center for Research on Sustainable Farming Systems (CIPAV Foundation), National Agrarian University – La Molina, Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon (IIAP), and in coordination with the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment (MINAM) and the Colombian Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS). This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.
Land use and abuse in the Amazon
The Amazon represents a major sustainability challenge: As well as being the world’s largest remaining tropical forest, it provides livelihood benefits to more than 30 million people who call the Amazon home, including economic goods (such as timber and food) and non-market ecosystem services (such as climatic regulation and biodiversity conservation).
Global demand for agricultural commodities has increasing weight in tropical landscapes as a driver of change in land use and land cover, and the Amazon accounts for more land-use change than any other region in the world. Deforestation in the region continues at the alarming rate of about 1.7 million hectares per year.
“We must evaluate the decisions we make on land and resource use in order to meet people’s needs and demands, without destroying the natural resources and ecosystems that make it possible to do so,” said Marcela Quintero, project leader at CIAT.
The strategy of this BMUB-funded 4-year project is multifaceted. Researchers will assess environmental and socioeconomic potentials and constraints, and the impacts of climate change on crop suitability and water-related ecosystem services. Then local communities will use the information to design and pilot sustainable land use alternatives that best meet their climate change adaptation needs.
Terra-i, an open-source, near real-time deforestation monitoring system, will be used to analyze project outcomes. In the longer term, officials at Peru’s MINAM will strengthen their capacity to monitor land cover changes, using Terra-I, and the greenhouse gas emissions produced by these changes.
Peru and Colombia, which encompass 23% of the Amazon, already have a number of initiatives in place to curb deforestation, but new models for rehabilitation are urgently needed to slow unprecedented rates of degradation. Germany’s strategic investment will help put the two nations on a pathway towards sustainable development and empower people to make decisions about sustainable management of natural resources.
Learn more about Germany and CIAT’s partnership to reduce hunger and poverty while lessening agriculture’s ecological and climate footprint in the Stewardship Report outlining our shared commitment.
Based on a decision by the German Bundestag
Photos #1 and #3 by Neil Palmer (CIAT) and #2 by Nathan Russell (CIAT)