CanopyCo carbon offsetting and reforestation in Ecuador, South America.

An Ecuador case study

These observations have been made through daily activities.

Living in a farming area, and cultivating our own organic vegetables, one easily becomes in tune with natures natural, and also unnatural cycles. For instance, the new moon brings rain and crops are planted according to the lunar cycle. This consistency helps farmers plan their activities, and work in tune with nature. However she appears to be losing her rhythm.

Arid landscapes as a result of deforestation in Ecuador Climate change has notably affected the weather patterns in the Andean valleys. Around five years ago, the wet season would reliably start in October, run till late December, and return sometime mid January, with heavy rains until April, when it would start to dry out. By end June you could bet your house that it wouldn't rain in July or August, no matter the lunar cycle.

These summer months were characterized by clear skies, a baking hot sun, and westerly winds; great weather for tourism, but terrible for agriculture. They are also harvest time, when farming communities would gather the dried maize, barley and oats to be stored for the following year.

The wet season could be characterized by clear, cool and sunny mornings that would cloud over and give way to reliable afternoon rains, maybe 3 or 4 times a week on average. This is obviously a generalization but it serves the example.

Climate change has been so pronounced, even the local farming communities, some with limited access to media, recognise the affects of a changing climate on their livelihood.

For the last 3 years rains started later, sometimes as late as 2 months. The sunny Christmas period extended from 3 weeks to almost 3 months one year. For those farmers who depend on the rains this is a near impossible scenario that threatens food security; long dry spells lead to the inevitable failure of bean and maize crops and it has become a risky business sowing crops in October, going against years of tradition.

Then when the rains start again, they come with great force and inundations have had devastating affects, washing away top soil, water logging fields and effectively drowning crops. In early 2008 Ecuador suffered under the heaviest rains for decades, with countless lowland areas flooded for weeks as river banks burst; deforestation in these areas certainly played its part too. And again in late 2010, severe rains brought by La Niņa phenomenon have again caused havoc after one of the longest dry spells ever recorded!

As a result of strange weather cycles we have known farmers plant 3 times in the space of 4 months, using all their stored seed in order to produce food for the family. Thankfully, third time lucky was the outcome, but what will the situation be in a few years time?

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