Climate Change and Protected Areas in Bolivia

Hoffmann, D. and Oetting, I., 2011. Springer

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Abstract

Climate change is probably the main challenge humanity is facing in the twenty-first century, and even though Bolivia belongs to the nations least responsible for global greenhouse gas output, the impacts of climate change and global warming (glacier retreat in the Cordillera mountain range; droughts in the Alti-plano, the inner Andean dry valleys, and the Chaco region; inundations in the Beni lowlands) are affecting an ever increasing number of people. Thus, to tackle the impacts of climate change in Bolivia is not only a task for political authorities at national, departmental, municipal, or communal level, but also one that has to be taken up by the management practitioners of the country’s protected areas. Nonetheless, the impacts of climate change are not yet a central issue in the management of the Bolivian National Protected Area System. This article shows how protected areas are “victims” of climate change, since their biodiversity is being affected by rising temperatures and changes in the hydrological regime; we also analyse in what ways Bolivia’s protected areas are a fundamental element in the drafting of mitigation and adaptation strategies, considering the importance they have in maintaining ecosystem resilience and the provision of environmental services.

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