South America: Climate monitoring and adaptation integrated across regions and disciplines

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This chapter provides an overview and summary of ongoing ALARM research in the South American Andes. ALARM helped to set up the first network for monitoring the impact of climate change in the Andes of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, following GLORIA (Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments) methodology. The GLORIA network has developed a standardized methodology to establish and monitor permanent plots in Alpine environments that are useful for comparing the impact of climate change on vegetation at a worldwide scale (www.gloria.ac.at). In addition to establishing GLORIA sites, we initiated interdisciplinary research on a variety of interdependent themes including: mammals, reptiles, amphibians, soil bacteria, glacial retreat, agriculture and animal husbandry. Here we show broad geographic vegetation and climatic patterns for five research sites while highlighting some of the multidisciplinary branches being explored. From this data, current and future analyses of both human and climate impacts on High Altitude ecosystems throughout the Andes are in progress. We identify some factors of variability among sites and introduce preliminary findings.