Study Area

The present case study was performed in the Andean Highlands of Peru in the watersheds of La Encañada and Tambomayo, Cajamarca (Fig. 11.1).

The 165 km2 total area ranges in altitude from 2 950 to 4 000 m above sea level (a.s.l.). According to the soil taxonomy (USDA-NRCS 1998), soils are classified as Entisols,

Fig. 11.1. Location map of La Encañada and Tambomayo watersheds

Inceptisols and Mollisols. Production systems are mainly based on natural and improved pastures and crops, basically Andean roots and tubers such as potato, oca (Oxa-lis tuberosa), ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus) and maca (Lepidium meyenii), as well as grains like barley and wheat (Tapia 1995). Agriculture is marginal and it is located on steep hillsides up to 65% slope (Romero and Stroosnijder 2001). Annual income per ha ranges from U.S.$400 to U.S.$3 200 (Valdivia 2002) and per capita income is usually less than U.S.$1 per day (Baigorria et al. 2002). According to Peruvian government statistics, despite the presence of gold mine explorations in the area, Cajamarca is considered one of the most economically depressed areas in Peru.

Three weather stations are located in the study area: La Toma (7°3.72' S; 78°16.92' W; 3590 m a.s.l.), Usnio (7°5.34' S; 78^8.96' W; 3260 m a.s.l.) and Manzanas (7°7.08' S; 78°18.60' W; 3 020 m a.s.l.) with an historical record of 10, 22 and 10 years respectively. According to Tapia (1995), these three weather stations divide the watersheds into three agroclimatic zones (ACZ) denominated as highlands, hillside and valley respectively.

Field Survey

Eight participative stakeholder workshops involving 339 farmers were held several months before the incoming cropping season (September 2003-May 2004). The goal was to obtain detailed information about usual farm management practices includ ing crops, N-fertilization ranges and planting dates as well as plans for the next cropping season. The workshops were performed in different areas according to the hamlet boundaries as well as the varied access to infrastructure and natural resources. Baigorria (2005) described other relevant information concerning local weather and seasonal climate forecast indicators currently in use by farmers, factors influencing crop decisions and the current use of formal forecast by decision-makers.

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