Contents

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

References 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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