La FAO y el FMAM

Una asociación para la agricultura sostenible y el medio ambiente

Climate change adaptation to reduce land degradation in fragile micro-watersheds in El Salvador

El Salvador, with its tropical climate and varied topography and geography, features a rich diversity of natural ecosystems, which is exposed to a range of natural hazards, including extreme weather events related to climate change. Land degradation and soil erosion, aggravated by recurring floods and droughts, have a negative impact on agricultural production and are threatening the livelihoods of vulnerable rural communities 

About the project

The Climate Change Adaptation to Reduce Land Degradation in Fragile Micro-Watersheds Located in the Municipalities of Texistepeque and Candelaria de la Frontera project sought to address these threats and successfully employed a number of good practices in the areas of sustainable natural resource management, community and ecosystem resilience, and climate change adaptation.

Good practices for the project's success 

Promote sustainable approaches that safeguard natural resources and protect livelihoods

Developing evidence-based frameworks for the protection of water resources enabled stakeholders and decision-makers at all levels to employ and promote sound practices to manage water scarcity. A key strategic instrument created under the project was a Methodological Guide for the Preparation of Management Plans for Fragile Micro-Watersheds (FMWMP), endorsed by partner institutions and used as a basis for four FMWMPs, which were developed and approved in a participatory manner and implemented in the target area, supporting the municipalities involved in the project. These municipalities are particularly affected by reduced rainfall and by increase in drought due to climate variability, threatening the livelihoods of local agriculture-dependent communities.

Establish farmer field schools to enhance knowledge and build capacities locally

The project conducted six farmer field schools (FFS) that delivered trainings on soil conservation and Integrated Natural Resource Management, which is a sustainable approach that balances the needs of farmers and producers, local communities, and the environment. A review found that all farmer field school participants believed they had enhanced their capacities and considered FFSs to be of great practical use. Furthermore, participants became reference points in their community, sharing knowledge and information acquired during FFS trainings with other farmers seeking to adopt more sustainable agriculture practices. The field school approach is a proven, cost-effective, and highly replicable capacity-building and knowledge-sharing tool for enhancing farmer resilience, know-how, and productivity.

Promote sustainable farming to build resilience

Vegetable gardens established during the project, with significant participation of female household members, contributed to an overall 15 percent increase in food produced per household, with 99 percent of families involved stating that the use of vegetable gardens had enabled them to diversify their diet, thus improving nutrition. Vegetable gardens represented viable, low-cost means of year-round food production. Some 982 families benefitted from learning how to use organic fertilizers, drip irrigation, harvesting of rainwater, and application of mycorrhiza (beneficial fungi) to improve root water consumption. The project promoted the planting of fruit trees, forest trees, grass and seeds for the expansion of vegetation cover across 1 757 hectares in four micro-watersheds. The promotion of sustainable approaches can help projects bolster vulnerable communities’ resilience, thus ensuring positive impacts beyond the end of the project.

Raise awareness to drive effective climate change adaptation

The project raised awareness among communities and related institutions. A review found that 83 percent of participating families had only been made aware of climate change through the project itself. To strengthen knowledge and capacities against the threats of climate change, the project coordinated with seven institutions and local governments in improving their capacities to integrate climate change adaptation into their planning and management processes related to the four fragile micro-watersheds.