10.1 Climate Change 245
10.2 Goals of Impact Studies 247
10.3 Agro-Ecosystem Processes 247
10.4 What We Have Learned 249
10.4.1 Agriculture Regions Will Experience
Change over Time 249
10.4.2 Effects on Agricultural Production
Systems Will Be Heterogeneous 251
10.4.3 Agricultural Production in Many Developing Countries Is Especially Vulnerable 251
10.4.4 Long-Term Effects on Agriculture
Are Negative 253
10.4.5 Agricultural Systems Can Adapt, but
Not Completely 253
10.5 Key Interactions 254
10.5.1 El Nino-Southern Oscillation 254
10.5.2 Water Resources 256
10.5.3 Agricultural Pests 256
10.6 Mitigation and Adaptation Responses 258
10.6.1 Mitigation 259
10.6.2 Adaptation 260
10.7 Interactions 262
10.7.1 Research Pathways 263
10.7.1.1 Climate Variability and Change 263
10.7.1.2 Observed Effects of
Warming Trends 264
10.7.1.3 Global and Local Scales 265
10.8 Conclusion 266
The first global climate model experiments projecting the atmospheric responses of increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases were published in the early 1980s. Soon after, research began on the agricultural implications of the changing atmospheric composition and its projected climate shifts. As the primary land-based human activity most intimately connected with climate and as the very foundation for human nutrition and indeed survival, agriculture naturally became a key focus for early climate change impact studies.
Through the ensuing two decades, scientists have employed a variety of analytic approaches in a multitude of studies to answer such research questions as: What might be the major effects of climate changes in the 21st century? Are some regions likely to gain, while others lose? What response measures are indicated? How climate change affects agriculture and how agriculture responds to a changing climate will invariably shape the sustainability of this vital sector.
Research in the area of climate change impacts on agriculture has involved field experiments, regression analyses, and modeling studies. The fields concerned have included agronomy, resource economics, and geography. Climate change and agriculture studies continue, with broad-brush explorations giving way to more detailed studies of biophysical processes and social responses. In this chapter, we review some of the main lessons learned from two decades of research on climate change and agriculture, and then delineate several pathways for continuing research that will help to elucidate further the interactions of climate change and agricultural sustainability.
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