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Building strongholds for people and nature in the high Andes: Saving and restoring wetlands is helping communities to manage scarce water resources in the face of climate change

Discover how community members in Jujuy Province, Argentina are working to improve the management of the precious water that enables them to graze llamas and other livestock in local wetlands and grasslands, and to grow crops to feed their families or sell on local markets, in this solution story.
Multiple Authors
Illustration of woman wearing a hat and blue coat in a field of yellow grass
Source: Original photos by Román Baigún, Sebastián Ingrassia, Ron Knight and Heber Sosa, photo artwork by Zoï Environment Network.

Summary

Wetlands usually abound in water, but not in the high Andes. Climate change is intensifying droughts as well as floods that threaten the way of life of Andean communities and the unique wildlife of high-altitude ecosystems. Community members are working to improve the management of the precious water that enables them to graze llamas and other livestock in local wetlands and grasslands, and to grow crops to feed their families or sell on local markets. With help from local government, non-government organizations and other institutions such as the National Parks Administration, communities are using cages with stones and sacks filled with mud to construct small weirs in rivers and streams. The weirs slow the rivers, allowing sediment to accumulate. This raises the water table to within reach of the roots of surrounding vegetation, restoring the wetlands and making them more resilient to lengthening periods of dry weather.

Learn more about the ‘Saving High Andean Wetlands for Nature and People’ programme and the impacts it’s having in this Solution Story: Building strongholds for people and nature in the high Andes.

Thisarticle is an abridged version of the original text, which can be accessed online: Building strongholds for people and nature in the high Andes.Please access the original text for more detail, research purposes, full references, or to quote text.

Related solution in the Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal

This Solution Story describes the strategy behind, and explores the active participation of local communities in the conservation and restoration of high Andean wetland ecosystems in the Laguna de los Pozuelos, Argentina. For more details, including how they were designed, funded and implemented, see the solution on the Adaptation at Altitude portal:

Ecosystem conservation and restoration in Laguna de Los Pozuelos, Argentina

About Solution Stories

Solution Stories aim to bring some of the solutions shared in the Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal to life and put stakeholders and beneficiaries at the centre of reflections on the successes of the different solutions. Linked Solution Stories will be highlighted on their respective solutions in the Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal.

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