What’s Climate Got to Do with It? Protecting Peruvian Potatoes

Category: Identifying Invasive Species Extent & Critical Species Habitat
Project Team: Peru Climate III
Team Location: University of Georgia – Athens, Georgia

Land Cover Map of Parque de La Papa, Perú. Image Credit: Perú Climate III Team

Land Cover Map of Parque de La Papa, Perú. Image Credit: Perú Climate III Team

Caren Remillard
Shirin Esmaeili
Dorris Scott
Parul Singh

Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA Langley Research Center)
Dr. Marguerite Madden (University of Georgia, Center for Geospatial Research)
Dr. Sergio Bernardes (University of Georgia, Center for Geospatial Research)

Past/Other Contributors:
Caren Remillard (Center Lead)
Dajon Begin
Brandon Hays
Kayla McDonald
Rebekke Muench
Kayla McDonald
Benjamin Page
Richard Rose
Adam Salway
Michael Sclater
Sam Weber
Ryan Murphy
Xuan Zhang


Agricultural systems in tropical montane regions are particularly vulnerable in the face of global climate change. Anecdotal evidence from Parque de la Papa, located in the Peruvian Andes, indicates that farmers following traditional practices have moved potato crops to higher elevations seeking suitable growing conditions for the potato varieties they have cultivated for centuries. The primary threat to native potatoes is increased mortality rates stemming from pests and diseases. In particular, rising temperatures have led to increases in the population and habitat range of the Andean potato weevil, Premnotrypes spp. The project used a mixed model approach combining quantitative and qualitative information to create a suitability model identifying areas that are currently suitable for potato planting and cultivation. Another goal of this project was to create a risk assessment of areas that will become unsuitable for potato cultivation in the future. This model was based on Landsat-derived land cover and land use, soil, and climate data in addition to local knowledge. It will be used to predict optimal areas for potato cultivation and will be given to the International Center for Potatoes (CIP) for use in a management plan to inform the farming efforts of the indigenous communities within Parque de la Papa.

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Daryl Ann Winstead (Mekong River Basin Agriculture) 18-08-2016, 13:52

Great job! Did the team encounter any limitations over the course of the project? Thank in advance for your response!

Brian Woodward 16-08-2016, 10:54

Great job, Peru Climate. Always great to see an issue presented that is largely unknown to most of the public. How big is the park?

All my best,
Brian Woodward

Sara Lubkin 13-08-2016, 19:58

That’s a lot of potato types! In my academic research, I try to track how insects move with climate using their fossils, but I imagine it’s pretty hard to track weevils with remote sensing. Were you able to use potato weevil habitat as a factor in your analysis?

Michael Sclater 11-08-2016, 09:33

Hey Peru Climate Team III, great VPS. I have enjoyed watching this project progress with each passing term. My question is did you find that El Nino years in general were more suitable for potatoes in Parque de la Papa, or La Nina years?

Dorris Scott 11-08-2016, 11:50

Hi Michael,

I am glad you enjoyed the VPS! With our suitability model, we focused more on the planting season which is in November and December. Based on the needs of our partners, we decided to focus only on comparing El Niño versus non El Niño years. In November, it is more suitable for potatoes during a non El Niño year. On the other hand, in December, it is more suitable for potatoes during an El Niño year.


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