© WWF-US / Nikhil Advani

    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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    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 a traditional Bolivian agricultural technique to reduce the impacts of drought and frosts

Santa Maria Yucuhiti is a small, quiet town surrounded by cloud, conifer and red oak forests. It is located in the mountainous region of southeast of Mexico. Most of its 6,500 inhabitants are “Mixtecos,” the fourth largest indigenous minority in America, which has inhabited the area since 300 B.C. 

Eleuterio is 37 years old. He is one of the many farmers of the town. Like his father and his grandfather, 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. “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 added during an interview.

Alternatives to agriculture are scarce. Due to its 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 in areas less exposed to cold winds. Those areas are bordering the forests, which are owned by the community. 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. People are afraid that the “slash and burn” practice combined with intense drought could destroy more and more forested areas and exacerbate the problem.

But what to do then? 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 deal with droughts and frosts at the same time. The project combines the installation of fog catchers with artificial water channels surrounding crops. Fog catchers collect the required water from the atmosphere to feed the water channels that, in turn, create a micro-climate that reduces damage to crops. 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 focuses on testing the system’s effectiveness on Mesoamerican crops, mainly maize and beans. The objective of this project is to increase the survival rate of crops after frost events. 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, results from monitoring of a second round of crops replanted after the hailstorm indicate the project has been effective in improving crop survival. 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 will provide further insights on the effectiveness of this innovation, initial results are promising.


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.



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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.