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Mountain Adaptation Outlook Series: Outlook on Climate Change Adaptation in the Tropical Andes Mountains

27 Apr 2016

Mountain ecosystems enrich the lives of over half of the world’s population as a source of water, energy, agriculture and other essential goods and services. Unfortunately, while the impact of climate change is accentuated at high altitude, such regions are often on the edge of decision-making, partly due to their isolation, inaccessibility and relative poverty. The Tropical Andes will experience some of the most drastic climate changes in South America. By the end of this century, the coldest years in the Tropical Andes mountains will be warmer than the warmest years to which humans and other species have adapted so far.

The Tropical Andes are among the world’s biodiversity hotspots most vulnerable to climate change. These mountains contain a wide spectrum of microclimates harbouring unique diversity of ecosystems. Glaciers, high mountain grasslands, mountain forests, rivers, lakes and wetlands provide essential services to society. Therefore, damage from climate change to these ecosystems can consequently harm society. If they are to adapt successfully to climate change, mountain ecosystem services and mountain communities must be recognized and protected.

An assessment of the effectiveness of existing adaptation policy measures and the extent to which they apply to the Tropical Andes, and the gaps that must be addressed to meet current and future risks from climate change.

Tags: climate change mountains agriculture Andes biodiversity energy environment and health gender equality indigenous peoples industry polar water

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