IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON AGRICULTURE

According to IPCC published in 2001, the poorest countries would be hardest hit, with reductions in crop yields in most tropical and sub-tropical regions due to decreased water availability, and new or changed insect pest incidence. In Africa and Latin America many rain-fed crops are near their maximum temperature tolerance, so that yields are likely to fall sharply for even small climate changes; falls in agricultural productivity of up to 30% over the 21st century are projected.

In the long run, the climatic change could affect agriculture in several ways:

  • productivity, in terms of quantity and quality of crops
  • agricultural practices, through changes of water use (irrigation) and agricultural inputs such as herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers
  • environmental effects, in particular in relation of frequency and intensity of soil drainage (leading to nitrogen leaching), soil erosion, reduction of crop diversity
  • rural space, through the loss and gain of cultivated lands, land speculation, land renunciation, and hydraulic amenities.
  • In the mid to high latitude regions, moderate warming benefits cereal crops and pasture yields, but even slight warming decreases yields in seasonally dry and tropical regions
  • Projected changes in the frequency and severity of extreme climate events, together with increases in risks of fire, pests, and disease outbreak, will have significant consequences on food and forestry production, and food insecurity.
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