From mangrove forests to the Amazon Basin to the High Andes, Latin America and the Caribbean are threatened by climate change. And so are Indigenous Peoples who live in these sensitive environments.
So it's not that surprising, perhaps, that of the 100 finalists in DM2009, 39 come from Latin American and Caribbean countries -- 12 from Peru alone.
One of the Peru projects seeks to "blend Western science and indigenous knowledge systems [and] know-how" to help bring buen vivir (good living) to the indigenous community of Potato Park in the High Andes through the development of new tuber varieties resistant to extreme climate conditions.
"Extreme conditions are showing up more often with more force throughout the region," said Alejandro Argumedo, director of the Association ANDES project (in photo at left above with researcher Katrina Quisumbing King). "With global warming we are seeing the emergence of a new climate, and it's coming very fast."
In Belize, "the impact of climate change is exacerbated by a combination of deforestation and tourism that is shrinking the mangrove forests that act as a sponge against storm-caused flooding," said Gregory Ch'oc, executive director of Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (in photo at right above with technical coordinator Lynette Gomez). The indigenous communities of this ecoystem are heavily impacted by the natural and manmade forces of destruction. Ch'oc's group seeks to help one hard hit indigenous district with community-based solutions for forest management that would begin with an inventory of the flora at risk.