By Elizabeth Plascencia
This past weekend Will and I attended a Mountain Peatlands and Climate Change Conference at La Molina University. The conference was organized and sponsored by the Rangeland Ecology and Utilization Lab, The Mountain Institute, and the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University. The conference consisted of several lectures and workshops presented by Peruvian universities, American universities, and NGOs. The conference was a great opportunity to learn and understand the importance of mountain peatlands and wetlands (bofedales) in front of a changing climate.
What are bofedales? Bofedales are high Andean wetlands. These native environments are being directly affected by climate change through extreme weather-related events and glacial retreat. Bofedales are key for those living downstream of the their water resources. The wetlands store water from rainfall and glacial melt.
During the coffee break, Will and I had the opportunity to talk to a couple of professors and it was really nice to hear their perspectives on the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20). After the last couple of presentations the floor opened up to a dynamic workshop that was lead by the leader of the conference. We split the entire auditorium up into three groups: Peruvian universities, American universities, and NGOs. We were all given three questions to answer and then we presented our findings and discussions to the group.
Each group selected a representative to share perspectives with the audience about what each group had discussed. I was honored to have the opportunity to represent the American universities sector of the workshop. Overall, the cooperation and collaboration between the groups was really nice to be a part of and I feel more aware of the importance of the fragile bofedales in the Andean region.