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Climate Change In Peru Essay

1589 words - 6 pages

Peru is a nation composed of heterogeneous ecosystems including the coastline of the Pacific Ocean, deserts, the Andes Mountains including the glacial regions, and the second largest portion of the Amazon Forest Basin (US AID, 2011). Its heterogeneity creates such a dire situation for Peru in terms of climate change and the effects it has on each individual system as well as the effects on wildlife and human occupants that live in these regions. In Peru, the climate changes that have been taking place have led to several disastrous outcomes that include not only draught, but have also led to depletion of the Amazon Rain Forest, an increase in disease, extreme temperature changes, glacial ablation, extreme weather, and changes in the nations oceans which are home to many species found only in this region. These changes in climate have affected the entire country from the Amazon Basin to the farmlands of Cusco. Are the climate changes occurring in the region only human induced, or are there other naturally occurring forces that are contributing factors as well? What changes and policies are being implemented in order to halt or slow the process of climate change in this country and what is the severity of problems that could arise if nothing is done?

The most immediate issue caused by climate change in Peru is the effect of the change on farmlands and food production in the country. Although agriculture only accounts for about 7 percent of the GDP for Peru, around 23.3 percent of the working population partakes in agricultural practices (US AID, 2011). Farming regions such as Cusco and Piura have experienced a drop in crop production by nearly half in recent years (Hufstader, 2009). Eighty percent of the farmland in these regions is seasonal so the farmers are forced to rely on the amount of rain during a given season (Hufstader, 2009). Cirilo Quispe Latorre, the mayor of Cachimayo district recalls how the climate has change just since he was younger: “The rains used to start in October, and we would plant broad beans, wheat, and potatoes. Now the rains begin around mid-December, and we lose more than a month and a half of growing time.” (Hufstader, 2009). Latorre goes on to say that the rains, which once ended in April now end in March. This significantly diminishes the amount of time that farmers have to produce crops which in turn has led to decreases in the output of crops in the last twelve years (Hufstader, 2009). However, according to the USAID report on Peru, annual rainfall percentages have not changed drastically over the last 40 years. There has been an increase in the coastal regions and highlands (where most of farming takes place), a decrease in the jungle areas, and little change anywhere else (US AID, 2011).What has changed though, is the extent of the drought periods which cannot be alleviated by the intense periods of rain (US AID, 2011). This issue could be helped in the long term by utilizing more advanced irrigation methods...

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