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

EarthzineIdentifying Invasive Species Extent & Critical Species Habitat, Uncategorized

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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