Climate Conversations – Indigenous knowledge ‘invaluable’ for Andean adaptation
AlertNet, 12 July 2012

LONDON, UK: Indigenous peoples have extensive knowledge of their local environments, gained through hundreds of years of observation and trial and error. They possess a large repository of strategies, skills, and techniques for dealing with climate variability. Three examples from the Peruvian Andes – included in a Brown University paper – illustrate the importance of the role of indigenous knowledge for adaptation. In the southern Andes, an archaeologist named Ann Kendall is working with local communities to recover Inca-era terraces long abandoned as ruins. These terraces can successfully retain water for prolonged periods, allowing farmers to withstand droughts. In nearby Cusco, six mountain communities have banded together to conserve hundreds of native potato varieties. Unlike imported white potatoes, many native varieties are resistant to heat, drought, and crop pests making them a more resilient option in the face of climate impacts. And in Peru’s Piura region, an NGO called Soluciones Prácticas has created an innovative weather prediction system that blends modern meteorology with traditional forecasting methods. By combining local observations of plants and animals with official predictions, Soluciones Prácticas creates seasonal forecasts more accurate than those delivered by modern science alone. Read the article … Download the paper [pdf] …