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In El Salvador, Adaptation-Based Mitigation Offers Ambitious Solution for Climate Resilience

Development initiatives often emphasize the importance of “quick wins” and “low-hanging fruit.” But what if the issues that are the most pressing are also the most complex?

The Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador is a good illustration of this. Located along the Pacific coast in what’s known as the Central American Dry Corridor, Bajo Lempa features everything from hillsides covered in coffee plantations, to flood-prone coastal plains where family farms border industrial sugarcane operations, to mangrove forests that compete with shrimp production. Increasing population and agricultural pressures have led to widespread deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution from agrochemicals. Landlessness and poverty - key grievances in El Salvador’s 1980s civil war – still linger in the form of a fragmented land tenure system. And climate change has exacerbated many of these issues due to reduced or erratic rainfall, and more frequent and intense tropical storms.

Christopher Porter

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