British Academy International Partnerships and Mobility Grant (2017)
The International Partnership and Mobility grant enabled the research team to undertake two workshops (UK and Peru), multiple meetings involving structured interviews / discussions with stakeholders, and field visits to four locations in the Peruvian Andes: Aypate (Piura), Cusichaca (Cusco), Huanta/Wari (Ayacucho) and Huaros/Marcapomacocha (Lima/Junín). The field visits enabled the team to engage with local communities, field archaeologists, non-governmental organisations, agronomists, university researchers, and members of government institutions. Representatives from these stakeholder communities were then represented at the workshops in Lima and in Reading.
Academy of Medical Sciences – Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Network Grant: Food Production and Climate Resilience in Peru: Past, Present and Future (2018-2019)
The GCRF Network Grant enabled the team to: discuss and communicate the main issues associated with climate resilience and sustainable food production in Peru over the past 1500 years; convey significant issues governing sustainable food production in Peru at the present day and in the future; design methodologies for data collection, and impact activities, and establish procedures for collaboration and publication; undertake preliminary field surveys of traditional agricultural systems in three of the key study areas with a specific emphasis on irrigated agriculture – Ancash (W-C Peru), Ayacucho (C-S Peru) and Lima/Junin (W-C Peru); design inter-disciplinary collaborative research projects in Peru.
British Academy Knowledge Frontiers Research Grant: Adaptive Capacity of Farming Communities to Climate Change in the Peruvian Andes (2019-2020)
The impact of climate change on water availability, agro-pastoral systems and local communities remains poorly understood in the Peruvian Andes. This is a highly controversial issue given that Peru is vulnerable to the effects of climate variability and extreme weather (e.g. El Nino). This is already having a significant impact on agricultural productivity. Our project aims to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by communities living with climate change, and the opportunities afforded through appropriate adaptive strategies. To plan climate change adaptation strategies, we will undertake a fully integrated study drawing upon methodologies developed in social science, archaeology and hydrology. We will focus on a region in N. Peru (Ancash), where the impact of water stress is already being felt by communities. The main output will be a framework, integrating socio-economics with water resource data, for use by communities and institutes in Peru and internationally.
GCRF – Royal Academy of Engineering Research Grant: Climate Resilience and Food Production in Peru (CROPP) (2020-2023)
The current and future impact of climate change on agro-pastoral farming systems, and their water supplying ecosystems, remains poorly understood in the Peruvian Andes. This is a significant issue given the known vulnerability to climate variability and extreme weather, which is already having a significant impact on agricultural productivity, compounded by chronic poverty in many rural areas and the need for better government-led strategic planning. To address this challenge, our project aims to gain a better understanding of the difficulties faced by rural farming communities living with climate change, the opportunities afforded through appropriate adaptive strategies, and the inherent resilience of people and mountain environments to natural shocks and disasters caused by climate variability. We will also develop a model that integrates agroeconomic data with climate change scenarios, and water and ecological resource quantification and analysis. These approaches will enable us to plan sustainable management practices that enhance climate resilience in conjunction with positive economic outcomes for farmers, aiding decision-makers to better understand and debate future adaptive strategies. We will undertake a fully integrated study that is collaborative and interdisciplinary drawing upon methodologies developed in the humanities, and social and natural sciences, with expertise provided by local communities, NGOs, government personnel, and academic staff from the fields of archaeology, hydrology, ethnography, economics, ecology and climatology. The research will involve workshops and interviews with stakeholders, interrogation of secondary datasets, assembling climate models and meteorological data, the survey of the water management infrastructure, and the collection and analysis of hydrological and ecology data from tributary rivers and peatlands. Building upon our previous research, we will focus on Ancash (Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Negra) in west-central Peru, and undertake a comparison with Ayacucho-Apurimac (Sondondo and Chicha-Soras) in south-central Peru, where the impact of climate change is already being felt by rural communities.
Project: Testing the resilience of traditional agriculture in the Peruvian Andes to periods of climate change and human activity (Funded by the AHRC).
Supervisors: Professor Nicholas Branch, Professor Jose Iriarte (University of Exeter).
Project: Quantifying responses to abrupt climate change in the Andes, South America: Empirical data and model synergies (Funded by the NERC).
Supervisors: Dr. Stuart Black, Professor Nicholas Branch, Professor Christopher Vane (British Geological Survey), Dr. Joy Singarayer.
Our Research Methods
Our approach is to collect and share ethnographic and ethnohistoric baseline data using the Rapid Appraisal of Agricultural Innovation Systems (RAAIS) methodology. The methodology permits analysis of agro-pastoral systems, especially the capacity for adaptation and innovation, and utilizes participatory action research.
Our approach is to collect and share: Quaternary Science data – palaeoclimatic, palaeoenvironmental and palaeoecological data from lakes and peatlands (bofedales) using a range of methods, including sedimentology, stable isotopes, organic and inorganic geochemistry, pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, phytoliths and charcoal; Hydrological data – quantify hydrological storage and flows using a range of methods, including survey of rivers, current and ancient water management features, and modelling to determine flow direction, flow accumulation and saturation index and topographic wetness.
Our approach is to collect and share landscape survey, excavation and post-excavation data using a range of methods, including remote sensing and GIS, soil micromorphology, phytoliths, charcoal, geochemistry and ceramics.