We Must Start in the Andes to protect

If the Amazon rainforest are the lungs of the planet, then the Andes are its lifeblood.

The world’s last remaining hotspot for agrobiodiversity, the region is the origin of many nutritionally important crop species and superfoods—grains like amaranth and quinoa; lupine pulses and maca roots—that underpin ecosystems, economies and diets.

At the same time, agriculture at the highest altitudes in the world is acutely threatened by climate change, with increasingly extreme droughts, hailstorms and frosts. Home to more than 85 of the planet’s 110 climate zones, the Andes is a living laboratory—for advances in both climate science and the understanding of its environmental impact on food systems.

Stef de Haan

Senior scientist at the International Potato Center

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