Projects

© WWF-US / Nikhil Advani
  • CLIMATE ADAPTATION PROJECTS DATABASE

    The climate adaptation projects database showcases climate adaptation initiatives around the world, drawn from a collection of other sources. It exhibits case studies of adaptation projects, which include climate hazards and impacts, and the corresponding adaptation strategies.

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  • WILDLIFE ADAPTATION INNOVATION FUND

    WWF’s “Wildlife Adaptation Innovation Fund” supports the testing of new ideas through on the ground projects which have potential to reduce the vulnerability of species to changes in climate. Success and lessons learned from these pilot projects will provide useful guidance that move conservation beyond business as usual approaches and rapidly scale promising efforts to help wildlife endure under conditions of rapid change.

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  • WWF FUNDED PROJECTS

Building fog catchers and artificial waterways in Mexico

Eleuterio is 37 years old and lives in the rural town of Santa Maria Yucuhiti, in Mexico’s southeastern state of Oaxaca. Like generations of indigenous farmers before him, he sows the land using the traditional slash and burn method. “Santa María Yucuhiti has never been an easy place to live, however, the last seven years have been the hardest I can recall,” Eleuterio said during an interview for Climate Crowd. “We have always dealt with frosts and droughts, but now they are harder and more unpredictable; we do not know when to sow in order to avoid losing crops”, he explained.

Alternatives to agriculture are limited. Due to the town’s isolation, people depend on their own crops for food. Some families have small cattle, which serve as a back-up during hard times, and some young men have migrated to distant cities. However, most of the farmers still remain and face higher risk. In order to cope with a changing climate, in 2016 community land owners agreed to start sowing their crops in less exposed areas bordering the community-owned forests. After one year, two sowing seasons and one hard frost event, the crops cultivated in these new areas seemed to perform better. However, two fires went out of control and damaged about 15 hectares of native forest. Local people are concerned that the continuation of “slash and burn” in these areas, combined with intense drought, could destroy more and more forested areas. But what to do?

Thanks to a grant through the WWF-US Climate Crowd initiative, WWF Mexico partnered with Espacio de Encuentro de Culturas Originarias, a local NGO, to implement an innovative project to address droughts and frosts. The project combined the installation of fog catchers with artificial water channels surrounding crops to improve crops survival. Fog catchers collect the required water from the atmosphere to feed the water channels that, in turn, create a micro-climate that reduces frost-related crop damage and maintain soil moisture. Water channels are widely used in Andean and Amazonian regions with good results: moderated night temperatures, reduced impacts from drought, irrigated soils, reduced soil erosion and pest control.

The project has focused on testing the system’s effectiveness on Mesoamerican crops, mainly maize and beans. Four fog catchers and 10 water channels were installed to protect ten treatment plots. Local farmers sowed these plots at the beginning of September. 300 corn plants, 150 black beans plants, 150 broad beans plants, 150 mustard plants, 60 broccoli, lettuce, chard and cabbage plants.  Although a very unusual hailstorm affected all crops planted in September, monitoring of a second round of crops replanted after the hailstorm has produced positive results. Despite a combination of frost and heat wave events in January, 380 plants out of 400 survived in the project plots (95% survival rate) while only 50 out of 200 survived in the control plots (25% survival rate). While ongoing monitoring and evaluation will provide further insights on the effectiveness of this innovation, initial results are promising.

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Implementing conservation agriculture in Tanzania to reduce vulnerability of rural farmers to climate change

In the highlands of Karatu District, farmers have experienced declining yields due to frequent drought and soil degradation, which is exacerbated by increasingly erratic rainfall. To improve farm productivity in the face of climate change, WWF-US worked with the School for Fields studies and in collaboration with the local community of Kilimatembo to apply conservation agricultural techniques including construction of trenches, ridges and terraces to prevent runoff, and planting trees and grasses to help stabilize the soil.

47,197 meters of ground contouring was applied to a total of 65 farms, comprising 199 acres of land. Additionally, 9700 seedlings of various tree species were planted over the course of the project. Ongoing monitoring efforts, primarily through community surveys, will track how these activities affect yields. 

 

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Overcoming deteriorating water resources in Hoima, Uganda

The rural village of Kihigwa, located in Hoima District Uganda, once relied on a consistent pattern of rainfall that would come and go in moderation in accordance with the biannual rainy season. The ever-increasing impacts of climate change though have transformed this once stable system into a system of extremes. Consequently, the people of Kihigwa are being forced to adjust to longer and hotter dry seasons and shorter rainy seasons with heavier storms. While this change is having severe impacts on many aspects of life, the people of Kihigwa felt that their water resources were being degraded the most. They came to this conclusion after participating in several weeks of intensive discussions and activities that allowed them to analyze their situation and develop realistic solutions that would benefit the greatest number of people.

In Kihigwa, people have always depended on open springs to collect their water. In a changing climate, these sources became more prone to drying up during droughts and more susceptible to contamination from surface runoff during heavy storms. This led to increases in water-borne illnesses and an increase in the time needed to fetch water during drought. In response to this challenge, the community of Kihigwa worked with a local Peace Corps Volunteer to identify the most important water sources in the village. Using funds acquired from a WWF grant, four key open water springs in Kihigwa were transformed into protected shallow wells and springs. These actions have ensured that the water sources are protected from contamination at all times while also providing a stable flow of water all year round even during drought.

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Recycling plastic bottles to build rainwater harvesting tanks

With longer droughts and rainy seasons growing noticeably shorter, Uganda continues to endure the impacts of climate change with few interventions rectifying the problem. To address increasing water scarcity, WWF implemented the Ichupa Upcycle project. Designed and led by former Peace Corps volunteer Michal Matejczuk, the project uses discarded plastic bottles collected from around the community as raw material for constructing a rainwater harvesting system that can store water for use during dry spells. 

The Ichupa Upcycle Project involved countless community members, masons, technical advisors, friends and thousands of patients, who worked together to construct nine (9) rainwater catchment tanks utilizing over 30,000 plastic bottles creating a holding capacity of more than 40,000L of rainwater.  The project not only serves as a solution to local water scarcity, but also contributes to local capacity building by bringing together different project beneficiaries to negotiate with one another, draw up a solution, source funding for various expenses and the necessary labor, find plastic bottles and the people to fill them, and ensure the timely completion of all project activities. The Ichupa Upcycle Project is in the process of becoming a registered community-based organization allowing those involved in the project and who cared deeply in its mission to continue expanding the knowledge they gained and achieve greater impact. 

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Rainwater harvesting in Njombe, Tanzania

Through a grant from WWF’s Climate Crowd program, work recently concluded on a new hand washing station and rain capture and storage system at a primary school in Idunda village, Tanzania. Prior to the project, Itanana Primary School had one water access point on the opposite side of the school from the latrines, so students would often go to the bathroom without washing their hands.  Moreover, during the rainy seasons runoff would cascade from the classroom roofs and excavate a ditch in the clay soil of the school grounds that continues down to the school’s agriculture fields, which support student lunches and school funds.  With increasingly unpredictable rainfall as a result of climate change, it’s becoming all the more important for communities to manage their water resources strategically.

With help from a local Climate Crowd partner, families, students and teachers of the Itanana School Community came together to mitigate both the runoff and hygiene issues by installing a rain catchment system, which diverts roof runoff to a water storage tank and any overflow to an infiltration pond to minimize soil erosion and replenish groundwater.  The stored water is piped to a new hand washing station located between the bathrooms and classrooms such that students can conveniently wash their hands before returning to class. The hand washing station has 5 faucets to satisfy high demand during lunch and break times.  Following construction and installation, teachers led a School Water Day, during which students participated in hands-on activities to learn about climate change, water conservation, and appropriate use of water for personal health and hygiene.  Quizzes administered before and after the School Water Day indicate that the majority of the 87 students who participated demonstrated an improved understanding of these concepts following the event.

The students and project volunteers worked hard to make this water supply and personal hygiene project a success, and have expressed pride in the positive contribution they've made to their community.

 

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Installation of 5 weather stations in SW Zambia

We are installing 5 weather stations in SW Zambia, a country which has very few stations currently installed. One station has been installed at the WWF office in Sesheke, and the other four stations will be installed in communities in the Sesheke province.

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Constructing an irrigation system in Uganda to address unpredictable rainfall

Residents of Mayuge district (and surrounding areas) have noticed especially dramatic changes in climate. Compared to years past, residents have noted long periods of drought and excessive heat, punctuated by extreme rainfall and accompanying soil erosion. Additionally, the timing of the seasons (i.e. rainy and dry season, each of which occur twice per year) have become much less predictable, both in terms of when they start and how long they last. These changes have had devastating effects in a society where nearly 90% of people make a living primarily through agriculture. 

To combat these changes, WWF partnered with a local volunteer to support a community-wide effort to construct a much-needed irrigation system. The project was made possible by the 200+ community members who contributed to the construction and procurement process.

Outcomes of the project include a large (12ft x 12ft x 13ft) water storage tank, an attached smaller (4ft x 3ft x 2ft) tank to be used for purposes of capturing run-off and filtering out sediment before flowing into the larger tank, a pipe used to capture run-off from the existing borehole (also filtering into the large harvesting tank), a gas-powered water pump, and a 150-meter hose to distribute water to the crops.

To date, farmers have expressed their satisfaction with the system, which they've already put to use. Currently they are using irrigation made possible by the project to grow pumpkins and passion fruit during the dry season, something that was only possible during the wet season in years past. Growing these crops at this time of year also means they can fetch a higher price at market, thereby boosting household income. 

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Restoring a watershed to help communities cope with drought

A series of Climate Crowd interviews recently conducted by our partners from the Institute for Ecological Research (IPE) revealed that changing rainfall patterns and drought have had serious impacts on people and wildlife living in Brazil’s Pontal do Paranapanema region. To combat these changes, WWF and IPE worked together to complete a project to improve the resilience of a local watershed through community-based reforestation.

Staff from IPE mobilized 600 volunteers from the local community, including children, students, teachers, researchers, long-time residents, civil servants, etc. through various outreach activities. Following participatory planning and training workshops with local stakeholders and volunteers, work began on preparing soil, acquiring native seeds from local agroforestry nurseries and finally planting seedlings on a designated plot of degraded land bordering a protected area. Over the course of the project, 2,200 seedlings were planted comprised of 48 different native forest species.

Once mature, the newly planted hectare of tropical forest will provide direct benefits to people such as water provision services, decreased damage from wind storms and protection from soil degradation and erosion. The new forest will also contribute to important habitat corridors for local biodiversity and create buffers zones for local wildlife such as the endangered black lion tamarin, as well as ocelots, jaguars, monkeys, armadillos, etc.

 

 

 

 

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