Action needed for staple crops in the Andean-Amazon foothills because of climate change uri icon

abstract

  • The Andean-Amazon foothills region, shaped by Andean moist forests and Amazon forests in southwestern Colombia, Napo province in Ecuador, and Ucayali Province and Napo Basin in Peru, provides local and global ecosystem services as food, water, world climate regulation, water purification, and carbon absorption. However, it faces major problems of land-use change that are exacerbated by climate change that affects these ecosystem services. For instance, conventional agriculture contribute to deforestation, soil degradation, and biodiversity loss, which might be further aggravated by climate change-induced droughts, thus reducing staple crop production and, consequently, food security. Cassava (Manihot esculentaCrantz), maize (Zea maysL.), and plantain (Musa paradisiacaL.) are major staple crops in the region. They play a key role for food security and local farmers' income but are highly exposed to climate risks. This article aims to quantify the level of exposure to climate change (measured as climatic suitability) of these crops in the Andean-Amazon foothills by using the EcoCrop model by the 2030s, 2050s, and 2080s under Representative Concentration Pathway 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5 scenarios. EcoCrop results showed that, whereas cassava will not lose climatic suitability, maize will lose more than half of its current suitable area, and plantain will gain and lose area, which would affect local food security. Globally, these results are important in highlighting adaptive and cost-effective strategies in agriculture and suggest that agricultural crop diversification may improve resilience by promoting the use of local crops varieties.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020