Woodlands and agrobiodiversity in irrigation landscapes amidst global change: Bolivia, 1990-2002

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24 Scopus citations


The global shift to small- and medium-scale irrigation is potentially compatible with high-agrobiodiversity production. A case study of the Cochabamba region in central Bolivia between 1990 and 2002 is designed to examine new interactions of irrigation with agrobiodiversity through change and continuity of landscape structures and functions. Irrigation change contributed to increased commercial potato and peach farming. Still persistent interactions of canal woodland habitat (landscape matrix including uncultivated or "wild" agrobiodiversity) with patches of cultivated agrobiodiversity helped ensure nutrient transfer and likelihood of gene flow. Farmers' field-level responses continued to include agrobiodiversity, especially multiple farmer varieties (FVs) of Andean maize. Capacities of social-ecological resilience in the period from 1990 to 2002 are estimated to have been moderate in anthropogenic canal woodlands (≥ 95 percent continued cover, albeit with reduced connectivity) and cultivated agrobiodiversity (viable with local loss of Andean potato FVs) and moderate-high in wild agrobiodiversity (viable with reduced capacity due to modified weed management). Indigenous "ethnodevelopment" applied to Andean community irrigation contributed positively to social-ecological resilience, albeit with significant limitations. Findings recommend that global change policies build emphasis on the interactions of water resource and agrobiodiversity management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-356
Number of pages22
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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