Building Capacity for Addressing Climate Change in Andean Conservation Efforts

Capacity Building for Natural Resource Managers in Tropical Andean CountriesTropical Andes
How does climate change alter our strategies to conserve Andean biodiversity? Photo by Bruce Young.
How does climate change alter our strategies to conserve Andean biodiversity? Photo by Bruce Young.

About This Project

Climate change is rapidly overtaking other pressures to become a major threat to the Earth’s biodiversity. Despite the prominence of climate change in the global environmental debate, many of those charged with managing our natural resources have so far failed to initiate substantial measures to promote the adaptation of these systems to climate change. The reasons are varied but include (1) a preoccupation with immediate threats such as habitat destruction, (2) a lack of capacity in knowing how to address climate change, (3) incomplete knowledge about how climate change might affect systems within a manager’s purview, and (4) a shortage of experience in the conservation community, especially in the tropics, in successfully modifying existing management practices to take climate change into account. This project was designed to help organizations responsible for managing protected areas and other on-the-ground conservation projects incorporate consideration for climate change into their normal planning and management activities.

The project established guidelines for conducting a cost-effective climate change vulnerability assessment of specific conservation targets and subsequent adaptation planning, and develop training courses and technical assistance for managers working in the tropical Andes to carry out a vulnerability assessment and associated adaptation planning. The result is a cohort of individuals and institutions with the understanding and technical skills necessary to address climate change in their management strategies. In addition, the findings and materials developed can inform similar efforts, such as the global climate change work of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to enhance the capacity of practitioners elsewhere in the tropics to develop climate-smart conservation practices.


The project had two goals:

  • Create teaching materials and documentation that can be used to train conservation professionals to incorporate consideration for climate change into their management strategies.
  • Use these materials in a training course that strengthens the climate change capacity of a cohort of conservation professionals working in the tropical Andes region.


Climate change is with us for the foreseeable future, and the consequences for biodiversity will only accelerate. Now that we have a good idea about how to mitigate some of the negative impacts of climate change on natural systems, it is important to share this knowledge as widely as possible to stem the tide of biodiversity loss. The project broadened the capacity of Andean government agencies and civil society organizations in climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. The resulting products, including teaching materials, guidelines for scaled climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning, and tools for assessing the vulnerability of species and habitats, are freely available to support similar efforts in tropical regions worldwide.

Download Guidelines for Vulnerability Assessments (Spanish)

Course Materials

  • Download course agenda for Vulnerability Assessment Module (Spanish)
  • Download presentations for Vulnerability Assessment Module (12MB, Spanish)
  • Download course agenda for Adaptation Planning Module (Spanish)
  • Download presentations for Adaptation Planning Module (8MB, Spanish)