Introduction

Predictions of climate change have different consequences for crop production globally. In some instances environments will become drier and hotter, in others precipitation will increase and rising temperature will expand the scope of crop production, particularly at higher latitudes (Christensen et al. 2007). However, the negative impact of climate change will likely be far greater closer to the equator, in some of the world's poorest and most densely populated countries. Forecasts indicate that elevated CO2 levels will have a fertilizing effect in some regions, although this will be negated by greater drought and heat stress in lower latitude areas. In most developing countries, wheat, rice and maize are the primary source of calories for the vast majority of people and any fall in production could have dire humanitarian consequences. At the same time, most commentators estimate that global production of food grains must double by 2050 to keep pace with increasing population and demand for food (APA 2004).

The University of Sydney, Plant Breeding Institute, PMB 11 Camden, NSW, 2570, Australia

D. Lobell and M. Burke (eds.), Climate Change and Food Security, 155

Advances in Global Change Research 37, DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-2953-9_9, © Springer Science + Business Media, B.V. 2010

Under these circumstances, agricultural scientists have two main options to increase the productivity of agriculture: development of better management practices, and development of better agricultural technology. While improved understanding of best management practices such as conservation agriculture have greatly improved food production systems in much of the world, improved agricultural technology - specifically the development of more water efficient cultivars with improved heat tolerance - offer some of the greatest hope for improving crop productivity in an increasingly hostile environment.

This chapter will focus on genetic options that can be used to improve the water-use-efficiency and heat tolerance of crop cultivars. Successful breeding depends on four sequential steps, which we review below: (1) identifying the target traits, which are a function of the target growing environment, (2) identifying sources of genetic variability for these traits; (3) crossing these sources of variability with existing varieties that possess other traits of economic importance such as disease resistance and high yield or quality; and (4) testing these new varieties across a range of on-farm environments. Wheat will be used as the model species, but the same principles apply for rice, barley and many other small grained cereals and to a large extent to open pollinated species such as maize.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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