The Regional Impacts of Climate Change

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Table 6-9: Summary of adaptation options in response to climate change in Latin America, based primarily on the IPCC Technical Paper on Technologies, Policies, and Measures for Mitigating Climate Change (IPCC, 1996b).

Sector Adaptation Option Other Benefits Difficulties to be Considered
Forests Reduction of social pressure driving land conversion Soil and biodiversity conservation, watershed benefits National and international socioeconomic conflict
Large tree plantations on highly degraded areas; short-term rotation plantations for local fuel needs Proper site and species selection for soil conservation and watershed benefits Costs vary between countries (US$4-31/tC)
Assisted migration Biodiversity conservation High costs, uncertain success
Low-impact harvest practices Soil and biodiversity conservation, watershed benefits  

Rangelands Preservation of an extensive spatial scale in management units Preservation of traditional organization patterns of rural communities, soil and biodiversity conservation Possible socioeconomic conflicts
Active selection of plant species and control of animal stocking rates Increased productivity, biodiversity, soil conservation Land tenure and market problems, cultural difficulties
Increase of the area devoted to capital-intensive improved pastures Alleviation of pressure on larger areas of rangeland High costs
Agroforestry, particularly involving legume tree species Increased productivity, biodiversity, and soil conservation  

Mountains Conservation of traditional cultivation practices and genotypes Conservation of local biodiversity and world's genetic resources; promotion of indigenous knowledge Market problems
Adjustment of infrastructure (dams, pipelines, erosion protection, etc.)   High costs

Agriculture Expansion of agricultural land area   Competition with other uses, high environmental impacts in forest areas, threatening for subsistence lifestyles
Changes in agricultural practices (sowing dates, tillage, irrigation, fertilization, crop varieties, species) Reduced soil erosion, increased yields in some cases Market problems, including marketing difficulties in adopting new practices, and environmental impacts in case of irrigation and fertilization

Freshwater Systems Assisted dispersal of ecologically and/or economically important species to isolated locations   High costs
Restoration of rivers and stream channels to more natural morphologies; large-scale hydrological engineering in floodplains   High costs, conflicting interests among stakeholders, ecological and cultural impacts
Augmentation of riparian vegetation to reduce negative effects of warming; decreased loading of nutrients to reduce eutrophication processes (which are believed to be exacerbated by increasing water temperature)    

Hydro- power Construction of new hydropower plants Level supply and demand curve Very high costs, increased need for international loans, potentially high ecological and sociological impacts
Reduced consumption; improved use efficiency; improved electricity transmission Lower energy costs  

Coastal Zones and Saltwater Fisheries (1) Raise reservoir capacity Use of secondary water for other purposes (leisure activities) Very high costs
Structural protection measures (dikes, seawalls, breakwaters, beach groins) in heavily populated areas   Subject to land availability inland, socio-cultural conflict and high environmental impact likely
Retreat   Possible internal and international interests
Design and implementation of national and international fishery-management policies that recognize shifting species ranges, accessibility, and abundances and balance species conservation with local needs    

Human Population Expansion of aquaculture to increase and stabilize seafood supplies, help stabilize employment, and carefully augment wild stocks   High costs
Introduction of protective technologies (e.g., insulated buildings, air-conditioning, strengthened sea defenses, disaster warning systems); education efforts aimed at high-risk groups   High costs, poorly understood consequences for other components of ecosystems
Environmental management of ecosystems (e.g., freshwater resources, wetlands, and agricultural areas sensitive to invasion by vectors)    

Human Settlements Improved primary health care for vulnerable populations, and public health surveillance and control programs (especially for infectious diseases)   High costs, conflict of interests, cultural problems
Decentralization of basic infrastructure to mitigate immigration into cities   High costs

Industry Better designed urban infrastructure (buildings, recreation areas, water delivery systems, etc.) Reduction of air pollution in some cases Socioeconomic, marketing, and cultural problems

(1) Adaptation to the impact of climate change on open oceans is limited by the nature of these changes, and their scale.


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