In mountain regions throughout the world, agricultural production is at
risk from unsustainable production techniques, destructive human
activities and the impacts of global climate change, all of which are
accelerating deforestation and desertification. Across Latin America,
South Asia and Africa, agroforestry represents one of the most
successful strategies for meeting these challenges. Between 2006 and
2007, Soluciones Prácticas (Practical Action - Latin America)
implemented an innovative agroforestry project in the tropical
rainforests of northern Peru aimed at reducing small-scale coffee and
cocoa producers’ vulnerability and strengthening their capacity to adapt
to climate change. By integrating environmental conservation into local
economic development priorities, capitalising on local knowledge and
strengthening social organisation, the project opened-up access to
international markets leading to increases in household income levels.
This case study presents the local context, methodological approach, key
results, innovations and lessons learned, as well as contextual and
enabling factors, all of which could be useful for informing the design
of similar initiatives in mountainous zones in other contexts.
By integrating environmental conservation into local economic
development objectives, the project not only led to improvements in
local environmental conditions, but also supported farmers to increase
their income levels. Agroforestry therefore represents a key strategy
for addressing climate change in mountain areas while also providing
economic incentives for farmers and policymakers.
The agroforestry strategy could not have been successful were it not for
local knowledge. Project planners and policymakers should therefore
ensure that climate change adaptation strategies make the most of
existing knowledge, which can then be complimented with capacity
building and technical expertise provided by suitably qualified external
The project demonstrates how an agroforestry approach to commercial
production – one focused on opening access to international markets
while at the same time strengthening farmer cooperatives - can be used
with success to enable small-scale farmers to access new market
opportunities, generating higher incomes and driving local development.
Torres, J.; Frías, C. ELLA Policy Brief: Innovative Mountain Adaptation: A Case Study in Agroforestry&#8217;s Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2012) 5 pp.