Mountainous areas with extreme elevation gradients and corresponding ranges of biophysical and socioeconomic conditions are highly vulnerable to global change. We propose that the ability to anticipate changes in weather, markets, and the availability and cost of resources is crucial to livelihoods and a key component of adaptive capacity. We conducted research in the Ica Basin, an Andes–Pacific watershed in Peru, to assess farmers’ capacity to anticipate changing hydroclimatic and production scenarios as a prerequisite to alter their activities in a way that positively affects livelihoods. We employed a mixed-methods approach to understand how local impacts of global change across the gradient differentially undermine farmers’ resilience and open opportunities for anticipatory and adaptive responses. We find that most farmers have little access to modern weather forecasts or market conditions, even though weather stations are located throughout the basin and many farmers have cellphone, television, and Internet services. Meteorological and hydrologic stations often are not maintained because of difficult physical access, and extreme gradients affect the reach, reliability, and cost of telecommunication networks. Unsurprisingly, farmers who do have reliable advance information on climate, market, and extension service availability are those in the coastal lowland agro-export sector. Smallholders in the lowlands and producers upstream in the basin fare far worse in this respect. Social, political, and environmental conditions have shifted rapidly, eroding traditional knowledge and information networks, and informal social networks cannot keep pace with changing scenarios. Increasing information access and improving telecommunication services in rural areas would strengthen farmers’ proactive decision-making capacity and lead to greater adaptive capacity and more uniform social-ecological resilience over the gradient in the basin.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We wish to express our gratitude to all of the farmers and communities in the Ica Basin, and the following institutions: El Gobierno Regional de Ica (GORE), Administración Local de Agua (ALA), Autoridad Nacional del Agua (ANA), Proyecto Especial Tambo Ccaracocha (PETACC), Junta de Usuarios del Rio Ica (JUDRI); Junta de Usuarios de Riego La Achirana (JURLASCH), Cooperación Alemana al Desarrollo Proyecto de Adaptación al cambio climático en Ica y Huancavelica (GIZ-ACCIH), Programa de Desarrollo Económico Sostenible y Gestión Estratégica de los Recursos Naturales (PRODERN), and the Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos (IFEA). Funding for these projects was provided by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the International Water Security Network through the Project, “Transboundary water security in the arid Americas”; the USAID-PEER II Project: “Strengthening Resilience of Andean River-Basin Headwaters Facing Global Change” (subgrant PGA-2000003421) linked to National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant No. DEB-1010495; the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research CRN3056 Project “Innovative Science and Influential Policy Dialogues for Water Security in the Arid Americas” supported by NSF Grant No. GEO-1128040; and the Lozano Long Summer Research Grant. The Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona, and the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Texas at Austin provided institutional facilities and support for the design, fieldwork and analysis components of this research. We would like to thank a few individuals in particular, Jaime de Grenade, Fabiola Yeckting, Maria Teresa Oré, Diego Geng, Eric Rendon, Claus Kruse, Ana Luisa Calvo, Mervin Obed, and William Doolittle. We wish to thank Robert Merideth for his close read and skillful editing.
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
- Adaptive capacity
- Anticipatory capacity
- Global change
- Ica Basin