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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PROJECT | World Wildlife Fund

Piloting an ancient Bolivian agricultural technique to reduce the impacts of drought and frosts

Local farmers from the indigenous community of Santa Maria Yucuhiti have reported that during the last 5 years, drought, floods and frost events have increased significantly causing damage to main crops such as coffee, fruits and “milpa” (a combination of maize, beans and zucchini). Such damage is adversely affecting people's livelihoods and causing harm to natural vegetation, as farmers are beginning to deforest protected natural areas to make up for agricultural losses. To address these impacts, WWF-Mexico is piloting an ancient Bolivian agricultural technique called “camellones” (ridges) or “Suka Kollus” (native name), which is a system of artificial water channels surrounding crops that create micro-climates. Benefits of this technique include: moderate night temperatures, reduced drought effects, irrigated soils, reduced soil erosion and pest control. The project will test the system’s effectiveness on Mesoamerican crops (mainly coffee, fruits and “milpa”), in particular, the extent to which it reduces impacts of drought and frost. In doing so, the project aims to reduce the vulnerability of the farming community to extreme weather events, and thereby reduce pressure on natural ecosystems.

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PROJECT | World Wildlife Fund

Relocating Pacific walrus carcasses to minimize disturbance by predators

Pacific walrus populations have experienced a significant decline since the 1980’s. Warming temperatures in the eastern Arctic are adversely affecting Pacific walrus habitat. In the Chukchi, East Siberian and Bering seas, the extent of autumn sea ice has receded to the north considerably, and the timing of sea ice formation has been delayed by about a month. Without the ice, walruses congregate at rookeries along the northern shores of eastern Russia, where the number of individuals often reaches several tens of thousands. Hunters from coastal villages note that many walruses come to the rookery very weakened following the long journey through open water. Every year, many of the weakest individuals, along with many young cubs, are trampled to death in stampedes caused by human disturbance and predator activity.  

Following consultation with and approval by residents of the local village of Enurmino, work began in 2017 on a project designed by WWF Russia and funded through the Wildlife Adaptation Innovation Fund to remove walrus carcasses from the rookery prior to the arrival of walruses and relocate the remains to designated feeding areas.  Hunters from the village proposed the best locations for predator feeding areas based on local knowledge of predator movements, distance from the village and the rookery, and proximity to routes taken by inspectors of Beringia National Park, who are able to conduct ecological monitoring of polar bear activity following project completion. In addition to identifying feeding locations, local hunters also provided the bulk of the labor needed for the project, including transport of 80 carcasses and additional remains from the rookeries to the feeding areas.

After the rookery was cleaned and feeding grounds established, a scientific consultant monitored the activity of predators and their influence on Pacific walruses at the rookery from September through November of 2017. Walruses gathered at the rookery a month earlier than expected, a possible result of reduced predator activity in the area. In total, 80,000 walruses came ashore. Compared to data from the previous year, data collected in 2017 showed a 43.5% decrease in number of predator appearances at the rookery. Five panic events occurred, resulting in a total of 167 fatalities, which is lower than the number of deaths recorded in all but one out of the previous seven years. Unlike the data recorded at the project site, observers at other rookeries along the coast of the Chukchi sea observed significantly higher numbers of fatalities in 2017 than in previous years. Despite the large number of individuals recorded at the project site, the mortality of animals was relatively low in comparison to other, much smaller rookeries. More than 500 fatalities were recorded at rookeries near Cape Schmidt, and more than 400 casualties near the village of Vankarem

Initial results of the project with regards to walrus mortality are promising. Additionally, relocating the animal remains to designated feeding areas may also help to reduce the number of conflicts between predators and humans by luring bears away from the village. Hunters from Enurmino plan to observe the presence of polar bears in the artificial feeding areas during the spring and monitor conflict situations with bears in the vicinity of the village. Looking forward, staff from WWF Russia advise carrying out similar projects near the villages of Ryrkaypiy and Vankarem, where frequent conflicts between polar bears and humans have occurred in recent years due to the close proximity of the villages to coastal rookeries and the growing presence of both walruses and polar bears along the coast as a result of declining sea ice.

 

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PROJECT | World Wildlife Fund

Constructing artificial nests for shy albatross

The shy albatross is a threatened and endemic Tasmanian species, facing a variety of anthropogenic threats across their range. The life-history of shy albatross makes them particularly sensitive to the unprecedented anthropogenic climate-changes occurring in both their marine foraging habitats and the terrestrial breeding environments. Recent work has obtained empirical evidence for some of the climate impacts upon this species. For example, increased air temperatures during the chick-rearing period are associated with reduced annual breeding success (proportion of eggs laid that successfully produce chicks at the end of the breeding season) and temperatures will continue to increase in the future under all plausible emissions scenarios. 

The current focus of the shy albatross conservation program is on investigating whether the provision of high-quality artificial nests can improve breeding success and provide a boost to the population by increasing the number of chicks produced in a given breeding season. Based on promising results from an initial proof-of-concept prototype, WWF-Australia has scaled the project with support from the WWF-US Wildlife Adaptation and Innovation Fund. To date, the team has constructed and installed a total of 120 mudbrick and concrete nests on the remote Albatross island. Immediately following installation, the albatross were observed readily adopting and augmenting their new nests. Initial monitoring results show the breeding success of pairs on artificial nests is 20 per cent higher than those on natural nests. 

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PROJECT | World Wildlife Fund

Preserving high elevation habitat for red panda populations

We are working with communities in the Khangchendzonga Landscape (India) to minimise habitat encroachment for firewood collection, develop a plan for forest fire management, and regulate extraction of wild plants. As red panda populations shift to higher elevations under a changing climate, this will ensure they have adequate habitat in which to thrive.

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PROJECT | World Wildlife Fund

Implementing conservation agriculture in Tanzania to reduce vulnerability of small-scale 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 funded a small-scale adaptation project implemented by the School for Field Studies and in collaboration with the local community of Kilimatembo. By constructing trenches, ridges and terraces to prevent runoff, and planting trees and grasses to help stabilize the soil, the project aims to improve conservation of soil and water in small farms and thereby improve yields.

 

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PROJECT | World Wildlife Fund

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 to 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 had always depended on open springs sources to collect their water. In the changing climate though, those sources had become 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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PROJECT | World Wildlife Fund

Recycling plastic bottles to build rainwater harvesting tanks

With two rainy seasons growing noticeably shorter, Uganda continues to endure the struggles of climate change with longer droughts in between its seasons and with few interventions rectifying the problem. The idea behind the Ichupa Upcycle project is to to divert water off of roofs using plastic bottles leading into a water storage tank made from the same building materials with the addition of several support materials and cement. 


The Ichupa Upcycle Project includes a four-phase program that begins with having the local government officials, the Mbale Cleanup Committee, and a community of volunteers leading a district-wide cleanup. The next phase, with the plastic materials collected, bagged and stored, we will be organizing a small team of passionate volunteers from each of the four (4) identified sites to assume the role of leading the build outs for the water bottle gutter systems, and then later the rainwater harvesting tanks. Upon the completion of the build outs, five (5) community members will be identified to undergo a basic training/mentorship in business planning, financial literacy and bookkeeping practices in order to continue on with the Ichupa Upcycle Project in creating the Ichupa Upcycle Enterprise.

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PROJECT | World Wildlife Fund

Rainwater harvesting in Njombe, Tanzania

Through a small 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 Peace Corps volunteer, families, students and teachers of the Itanana School Community came together to mitigate both the runoff and hygiene issues through the installation of 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 so that students can conveniently wash their hands before returning to their classes.  The hand washing station also has 5 outlets to satisfy high demand around lunch and break times.  Following construction and installation, teachers led a School Water Day, during which students participated in hands-on activities illustrating the issue of global climate change, the need for more local methods of water conservation, and the best ways to safely use that 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 whole community worked hard to make this water supply and personal hygiene project a success, and will continue to take pride in their positive efforts in supporting these basic needs in unique ways.

 

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PROJECT | World Wildlife Fund

Installation of 5 weather stations in SW Zambia

We are installing 5 weather stations in SW Zambia, greatly increasing weather data collection in Zambia, a country which has very few stations currently installed. One station will be 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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PROJECT | World Wildlife Fund

Constructing an irrigation system in Uganda to address unpredictable rainfall

Based on interviews conducted through the Climate Crowd, it has been observed that due to its location on the equator, residents of Mayuge district (and surrounding areas) have noticed especially dramatic changes in the 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 more than 85% of people make a living primarily through agriculture. Furthermore, the majority of farmers in the region rely on traditional methods of agriculture, knowledge passed down through generations; they do not know how to irrigate their crops in the absence of rainfall. There is a strong need to collect and divert excess rainwater during the rainy season, and to apply this water productively during the dry season through an irrigation system. Moreover, with regular access to water throughout the year, farmers will be able to plan effectively despite the fluctuating timing of the seasons, which will in turn allow them to better manage highly seasonal cash flows.

This project will provide members of Bugadde SACCO, Eastern Uganda’s largest savings and credit cooperative, with the materials and training needed to build storage tanks and an accompanying irrigation system sufficient for irrigating two acres of farmland. Other farmer groups will also be invited to participate and will be provided subsequent training in financial literacy to enable them to save towards construction of similar tanks for their own use. Additionally, project organizers intend to film the construction process and create a short video in order to raise awareness about the effects of climate change on the local population.

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PROJECT | Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas

Restoring a watershed to help communities cope with drought

WWF is partnering with IPE in the Western portion of Sao Paulo State, Brazil, in a region known as the Pontal do Paranapanema. Having worked here for more than two decades, they are working with Climate Crowd to collect data on how communities are being impacted by changes in weather and climate, and how they are responding. Based on these findings, this project will help restore the watershed, a key climate adaptation strategy as these communities face increasing drought and changing seasonality of rainfall.

Reforestation helps to maintain water provision services, decrease damage by wind storms, protect soil, as well as create habitat corridors and buffer zones for wildlife. The communities involved in this project are families in the surroundings of the Black-lion Tamarin Ecological Station (6.000 ha), including youngsters from the families. It is estimated that a total of 600 people will be involved in this project, which will involve planting 2000 trees.

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