Environmental Economics

Bolivia Climate Change Monthly: May 2013

INESADWelcome to the May 2013 issue of Bolivia Climate Change Monthly where you will find the latest research, policy and news related to climate change in Bolivia*.

Academic Research Bolivia Climate Change

Carbon stocks and dynamics in grazing highlands from the Andean Plateau by M.A. Munoz, A. Faz, and R. Zornova published in CATENA.

Elevational Distribution and Conservation Biogeography of Phanaeine Dung Beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) in Bolivia by S. K. Herzog, A. C. Hamel-Leigue, T. H. Larsen, D. J. Mann, R. W. Soria-Auza, B. D. Gill, W. D. Edmonds, and S. Spector published in open access journal PLoS ONE.

A land cover map of Latin America and the Caribbean in the framework of the SERENA projectby P. D. Banco et al, published in Remote Sensing of Environment.

The development of soil and water conservation policies and practices in five selected countries from 1960 to 2010 by J. de Graaffa, A. Aklilub, M. Ouessarc, S. Asins-Velisd, and A. Kesslera published in Land Use Policy.

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Critically evaluating climate change research: An important new skill for policy makers across the Andean region.

Climate change is having an enormous impact in the Andean region, one of the most conspicuous results being glacial melt. Ministers of the affected countries need to draw up policies in order to deal with the environmental, social, and economic consequences, which means that they first need to fully understand exactly what the consequences will be. There are many groups who have investigated the impacts of climate change and produced numerous studies on the subject, but evaluating these studies is not always straightforward. A recent training course—requested by the Comunidad Andina de Naciones (Community of Andean Nations – CAN), financed by the World Bank, and delivered by a team of experts from Bolivia—is helping policy makers make sense of the evidence.

Drs. Lykke Andersen, Luís Carlos Jemio, Oscar Molino, and Gonzalo Lora from the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (INESAD) and the Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB) travelled all around the South American region in January of this year. The aim was to teach a ten-step guide of Climate Change Impact Evaluation to government officials in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. The process drawn up by the experts starts from a chosen topic and scale of analysis. This ranges from single, local effects of climate change, such as reductions of Fiji’s tuna stocks (Aaheim, 2000), to generalized, global-level impacts (Stern, 2007). The ten steps take officials through understanding these studies to formulating recommendations for public policies. Dr. Lykke Andersen, who directs INESAD’s Center for Environmental Economic Modeling and Analysis, spoke to Development Roast about the course. Read More »

What Can Bamboo Do About CO2?

Efforts to thoroughly study the role that plants play in climate change mitigation are increasing. Most researchers focus on the promise of large, leafy forest trees to help remove carbon from the atmosphere; for example Lal (1998) in India, Chen (1999) in Canada, Zhang (2003) in China, and Monson ( 2002) in the United States. This is because, generally speaking, the bigger the plant, the more CO2 it absorbs – click here to see how plants do this – and trees are the most obvious large plant species. However, there are some very large non-tree plants in the world and increasing evidence points to a surprising grassy climate change warrior: bamboo.

One species of bamboo, the guadua angustifolia, found in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia, has been shown to grow up to 25 meters in height and 22 centimeters in diameter, with each plant weighing up to 100 kilograms (Rojas de Sánchez, 2004). This doesn’t match the stature of many trees, but it is still big enough to be significant. It is not all about size, however. How fast a plant grows has a part in determining how much CO2 it can absorb in a given time. In this respect, bamboo wins hands-down: it grows faster than many trees, growing up to 1.2 meters per day. In fact, bamboo holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s fastest growing plant. Read More »

Exactly How Do Trees Fight Climate Change?

Much is written about the need to reduce deforestation and replant the forests that have been logged for human use and economic development. This is because trees are needed for fighting climate change and vital to the very survival of the planet. But what is it exactly that makes trees and other plants so special?

Climate change is caused, at least partly, by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases which accumulate in the Earth’s atmosphere and trap heat. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), set up in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations, is the leading international body for assessing this phenomenon.

In their most recent Assessment Report from 2007, the IPCC reported that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most significant anthropogenic greenhouse gas, both in the sense of the amount of heat it traps and the quantity that is released into the atmosphere (mainly from the burning of fossil fuels). Forests are very effective ‘carbon sinks’, extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and keeping it locked away for long periods of time. Therefore, some of the key strategies to alleviate the causes and effects of climate change recommended by the IPCC include efforts to reduce deforestation, while simultaneously increasing afforestation and reforestation: planting of forests where none were before and replanting areas where forest has been removed, respectively. Read More »

China’s Importance in International Commerce

HAZ CLIC AQUÍ para leer en español.

China’s strong growth has been extensively reported and debated due to its significant impacts on the prices and volumes of commercial flows during the last few decades. The economic behavior of China is fundamental given that it has one of the highest Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in the world (second only to the United States) and that it has a population that makes up approximately 15 percent of the world’s total.

The 2012 ECLAC document ‘Panorama of the International Insertion of Latin America and the Caribbean’ contains information that allows an analysis of China’s influence on international commerce to be performed. The data are presented in the following table. Read More »

INESAD News: Guatemalan Food Security and Livelihoods – Is Strengthening Agriculture Enough?

The Spring 2013 issue of the Tropical Agriculture Association‘s (TAA) Agriculture for Development journal featured a report on food security and livelihoods of the rural populations of Guatemala by INESAD’s Ioulia Fenton. The paper summarizes the results of fieldwork research carried out by Ioulia in the province of Solola that focused on rural-urban linkages approach to development. The report makes practical recommendations for projects and policies that could begin to tackle some of Guatemala’s worst poverty and malnutrition problems. These include focusing on more sustainable farming methods, reverting to agricultural production geared for the local (rather than export) markets, and setting up knowledge transfer initiatives to teach people to conserve fresh produce by drying, salting or pickling it.

The article is available for free exclusively to Development Roast readers and can be downloaded from Ioulia’s Academia.edu site:

Fenton, Ioulia (2013) Rural-urban linkages in development – is strengthening agriculture the best way forward- A case study from Guatemala.

To purchase the full issue of Agriculture for Development, please visit the TAA site here. Read More »

INESAD News: Improving Government-Donor Coordination

One of INESAD’s specialties is to work together with the Bolivian Government and donors to facilitate the design of effective, efficient, and equitable development policies and projects in Bolivia. We are pleased to announce the latest example of this.

INESAD is currently partnering with the Danish Embassy to help them work with the government to formulate the Program for Integral and Sustainable Management of Forests and Energy in Bolivia for the period 2014-2018. This Program supports the Joint Mechanism of Mitigation and Adaptation for the Integral and Sustainable Management of Forests and Mother Earth with about US $26 million. It will also support the development of renewable energy sources in order to reduce the use of highly subsidized and contaminating diesel for the generation of energy in northern Bolivia. Read More »

Bolivia Climate Change Monthly: April, 2013

INESADWelcome to the April 2013 edition of Bolivia Climate Change Monthly where you will find the latest research, policy and news related to climate change in Bolivia*.

Accessing adaptation: Multiple stressors on livelihoods in the Bolivian highlands under a changing climate by Julia McDowell and Jeremy Hess, published in Global Environmental Change.

Current state of knowledge regarding South America wetlands and their future under global climate change by Wolfgang Junk, published in Aquatic Sciences.

An International Network on Climate Change Impacts on Small Farmers in the Tropical Andes – Global Conventions from a Local Perspective by Andre Linder, published in Sustainable Agriculture Research. Read More »

INESAD News: Dr. Andersen Gives Keynote Speech

Dr. Lykke Andersen gave a keynote speech entitled “A Theoretical Background to Land Use Change and Social-Ecological System Modeling in SimPachamama” during a two-day workshop on “Using Agent-Based Models to Project Possibilities for REDD+ Policies” held at the University of Florida on April 24-25, 2013.

One of the goals of the workshop was to discuss in which directions to expand and improve INESAD’s Simpachamama – a didactic game that is used as a tool for the participatory design of effective, efficient and equitable policies to reduce deforestation and rural poverty in Bolivia. Click HERE for a description of the game.

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Bolivia’s Best: Interview with Manuel Gonzales, Director of Environmental Affairs in Viacha

By Tracey Li and Natalia Zegarra.

“Even if you study somewhere far away from your home, you should realize that you can return to your home community afterwards and make a real impact there.”

Being able to study or travel away from home has many personal rewards. But it is when people use their experiences to return home and improve their communities that the social benefits begin to be reaped and those community members shine as examples for others to follow.

Manuel Gonzales, Director of Environmental Affairs for the local government of the city of Viacha that lies just southwest of La Paz in the heart of Bolivia’s Altiplano, is one such individual. Development Roast spoke with him about his experience studying to become an agronomic engineer at the at the Unidad Académica Campesina de Carmen Pampa (‘Rural Academic Unit of Carmen Pampa’, UAC-Carmen Pampa) and subsequently applying what his learnt in his home community*. Read More »


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