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For people living in the tropical Andes, climatic change is not a problem of the future – it’s already there. Countries like Peru and Bolivia are bearing the consequences of climate change, such as retreat of glaciers and extreme weather events, which are directly affecting crops, livestock, biodiversity, and, last but not least, increasing levels of poverty. Almost the entire agricultural sector is suffering from increasing water stress due to melting glaciers and changing precipitation patterns. The productivity, especially of small-scale agriculture production systems is threatened, and thus the income of smallholder families is at risk.

As traditional inhabitants of the tropical Andean Region, these farmers historically have had to cope with extreme daily temperatures, unpredictable weather events from one year to the next, and a diversity of environmental conditions scattered across the elevations. This has made locals aware of the recurrent diversity of climate related impacts and its consequences. Understanding these adaptations has become one of the most important focuses of research into climate change impacts and vulnerability, since it provides essential knowledge for developing and transferring strategies towards a sustainable management in agriculture and agroforestry.

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