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UK Research and Innovations (2019)

Fishing and farming in the desert’ ? A platform for understanding El Niño food system opportunities in the context climate change in Sechura, Peru

Fishing Farming Desert Sechura Peru

Titre : Fishing and farming in the desert’ ? A platform for understanding El Niño food system opportunities in the context climate change in Sechura, Peru

Pays/Région : Sechura Desert, northern Peru

Durée : déc. 19 - juin 22

Référence projet : AH/T004444/1
Catégorie : Research Grant

Résumé
Cyclical extreme rainfall events, such as those generated by the El Niño in South America, can cause devastation through flooding in low and middle income countries, particularly in Peru, a country that is intimately linked to climate phenomena associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. It was Peruvian fishermen who first identified El Niño in the late 19th Century off the north coast of Peru. However, very little attention has been given to the opportunities these events can create for food systems, especially in the context of climate change in arid settings. This is particularly important because these events have the capacity to increase the amount of available freshwater and produce fertile sediment that fill river and lake floodplains. Our project will undertake the first systematic, interdisciplinary research on desert-El Niño-food systems in the Sechura Desert, northern Peru. The outputs from our research will have a bearing on how future challenges and opportunities associated with climate change, in particular El Niño in northern Peru, are imagined in academia and policy. It focuses attention on the less researched positive possibilities that El Niño events can generate in some contexts, which in northern Peru has significant implications for marginal desert-living communities, e.g. fishers and farmers who have so far been invisible in the popular narrative of disaster mitigation surrounding a strong El Niño event. Specifically, we will (a) deconstruct the climate history of the Sechura desert by integrating monitoring and lake sediment records of climate change ; (b) examine human responses to El Niño through colonial and republican archives and generate oral histories of previous El Niño events ; (c) evaluate contemporary food system practices through a mixed-method approach that looks at impact of climate variability on fish ecology and participatory mapping of fishing/farming practice and resources/markets ; (d) identify challenges and opportunities for desert-El Niño-food systems by mapping social and economic development in the Sechura desert and contextualising this with newspaper archive analysis leading to future scenario planning.

Lead Research Organisation : University of St Andrews

Financement : Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Budget  : £174 052

UK Research and Innovations

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