Special Issue "Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Annelie Holzkämper

Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences, Climate and Air Pollution Group, CH-8046 Zurich, Switzerland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: climate change impacts on agriculture; crop modelling; adaptation planning
Guest Editor
Dr. Sibylle Stöckli

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Department of Crop Sciences, Ackerstrasse 113, P.O. Box 219, CH–5070 Frick, Switzerland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: pest population ecology; plant protection strategies; agro-ecology; climate change adaptation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change is altering agricultural production conditions across the globe. With increasing temperatures and changing precipitation patterns, abiotic stresses, such as heat and drought, reduce yield potentials and shift agricultural production zones. Simultaneously, climate change directly affects the physiology, phenology, and distribution of agricultural pests and diseases. Furthermore, there is an indirect impact of climate change on organisms through site conditions (e.g., water or soil quality). With the projected further temperature increase, agricultural pests and diseases are expected to occur more frequently and possibly extend to previously non-affected regions.

Adaptations are required to mitigate negative consequences of climate change and to exploit emerging new potentials, while avoiding negative impacts on the environment. On the short run, shifts in sowing, cultivar choice, soil or irrigation management can be suitable adaptation options; on the long run more drastic transformational changes might be required, involving, for example, fundamental changes in production systems or in institutional structures. In general, local adaptive capacity is key to adaptation success and interdisciplinary research is needed to guide the process of adaptation planning.

We invite experimental and modelling studies investigating the effectiveness of different adaptation options, but also qualitative and quantitative studies exploring drivers of adaptive capacity and resilience of local production systems.

Dr. Annelie Holzkämper
Dr. Sibylle Stöckli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Climate change impacts
  • Adaptive capacity
  • Climate resilience

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Impact of a Warming Micro‐Climate on Muooni  Farmers of Kenya
Agriculture 2017, 7(3), 20; doi:10.3390/agriculture7030020
Received: 26 May 2016 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 7 March 2017
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Abstract
Rainfed agriculture has become highly vulnerable to the depleting water resources in most arid and semi‐arid tropics (ASATs) under the effect of climate change. The impact has certainly been very high in Muooni catchment where more than 99% of the natural forest has
[...] Read more.
Rainfed agriculture has become highly vulnerable to the depleting water resources in most arid and semi‐arid tropics (ASATs) under the effect of climate change. The impact has certainly been very high in Muooni catchment where more than 99% of the natural forest has been cleared. The warming micro‐climate is accelerated by extended deforestation, unsustainable irrigation, and water over‐abstraction in the catchment by eucalyptus and other exotic trees. The dwindling crop yields add to the farmer’s suffering. Farming communities have created various innovative ways of coping with a warming environment to increase their agriculture resiliency. These include, among others, rain water management, reforestation and agro‐forestry. To what extent have these practices been disturbed by the increasing temperatures, and decreasing rainfalls and river discharges in Muooni catchment? This study used statistical forecast techniques to unveil the past, current and future variations of the micro‐climate in Muooni catchment, and relevant factors determining farmers’ vulnerability to drought. Muooni catchment is warming by 0.8 to 1.2 °C in a century as a result of a changing micro‐climate. These changes are mainly driven by deforestation due to the high urbanization rate and agricultural practices in Muooni catchment. Centennial rainfall is subsequently plummeting at 30 to 50 mm while discharges are decreasing from 0.01 to 0.05 m3∙s−1, with unmet water demands of 30% to 95% and above. In view of the current trends of the population growth and urbanization in Muooni, agricultural expansion is seriously threatened if no appropriate policy, extension service and science based emergency measures are put in place by the Government of Kenya. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Projecting Future Change in Growing Degree Days for Winter Wheat
Agriculture 2016, 6(3), 47; doi:10.3390/agriculture6030047
Received: 12 April 2016 / Revised: 5 September 2016 / Accepted: 6 September 2016 / Published: 15 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5279 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Southwest Oklahoma is one of the most productive regions in the Great Plains (USA) where winter wheat is produced. To assess the effect of climate change on the growing degree days (GDD) available for winter wheat production, we selected from the CMIP5 archive,
[...] Read more.
Southwest Oklahoma is one of the most productive regions in the Great Plains (USA) where winter wheat is produced. To assess the effect of climate change on the growing degree days (GDD) available for winter wheat production, we selected from the CMIP5 archive, two of the best performing Global Climate Models (GCMs) for the region (MIROC5 and CCSM4) to project the future change in GDD under the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 8.5 and 4.5 future trajectories for greenhouse gas concentrations. Two quantile mapping methods were applied to both GCMs to obtain local scale projections. The local scale outputs were applied to a GDD formula to show the GDD changes between the historical period (1961–2004) and the future period (2006–2098) in terms of mean differences. The results show that at the end of the 2098 growing season, the increase in GDD is expected to be between 440 °C and 1300 °C, for RCP 4.5, and between 700 °C and 1350 °C for RCP 8.5. This increase in GDD might cause a decrease in the number of days required to reach crop maturity, as all the GCM/statistical post-processing combinations showed a decreasing trend of those timings during the 21st century. Furthermore, we conclude, that when looking at the influence of the selected GCMs and the quantile mapping methods on the GDD calculation, the GCMs differences originated from the significant spatial and temporal variations of GDD over the region and not the statistical methods tested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Engaging Farmers in Climate Change Adaptation Planning: Assessing Intercropping as a Means to Support Farm Adaptive Capacity
Agriculture 2016, 6(3), 34; doi:10.3390/agriculture6030034
Received: 30 March 2016 / Revised: 18 July 2016 / Accepted: 19 July 2016 / Published: 29 July 2016
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Abstract
Agriculture is one of the most vulnerable and adaptation-prone sources of livelihood facing climate change. Joint adaptation planning by farmers and researchers can help develop practically feasible and environmentally and economically sound adaptation actions as well as encourage the proactive building of farm
[...] Read more.
Agriculture is one of the most vulnerable and adaptation-prone sources of livelihood facing climate change. Joint adaptation planning by farmers and researchers can help develop practically feasible and environmentally and economically sound adaptation actions as well as encourage the proactive building of farm adaptive capacity. Here, the perceptions of Finnish farmers and rural stakeholders regarding intercropping, the cultivation of two or more crop genotypes together in time and space, as a means to prepare for climate change, were collected in an open workshop. Our aim was to identify the potentials and challenges associated with intercropping, its role as an adaptation strategy, and in farm adaptive capacity. Qualitative analysis revealed better yield security, increased nutrient and protein self-sufficiency, soil conservation and maintenance, reduced pathogen pressure and regulation of water dynamics as the main perceived potentials of intercropping. Potentials relating to the farm economy and environment were also recognized. The main challenges associated with intercropping were related to the lack of information on crop variety performance and optimal yielding in mixtures, industry and policy requirements for seed purity, more complicated crop management and harvesting, and the economic risks associated with experimenting with novel mixtures. Nitrogen-fixing legumes; deep-rooted species, such as lucerne (Medicago sativa L.); special crops, such as herbs in forage mixtures; and autumn-sown winter oilseeds and cereals were highlighted as the most promising intercrops. Because the recognized potentials relate to the safeguarding of field cropping from anticipated climate change and the associated weather variability, we conclude that intercropping can serve as one adaptation strategy to strengthen the adaptive capacity of Finnish farms. However, assuring markets and policies that allow the development of intercropping, performing experiments to assess the benefits and implement options in practice, and providing farmers and farm advisors with more knowledge on the method represent the critical prerequisites for the broader adoption of intercropping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Crop Management as an Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change in Early Modern Era: A Comparative Study of Eastern and Western Europe
Agriculture 2016, 6(3), 29; doi:10.3390/agriculture6030029
Received: 29 March 2016 / Revised: 16 June 2016 / Accepted: 4 July 2016 / Published: 12 July 2016
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Abstract
Effective adaptation determines agricultural vulnerability to climate change, especially in the pre-industrial era. Crop management as an agricultural adaptation to climate change in recent human history, however, has rarely been systematically evaluated. Using Europe as our study area, we statistically compared yield ratio
[...] Read more.
Effective adaptation determines agricultural vulnerability to climate change, especially in the pre-industrial era. Crop management as an agricultural adaptation to climate change in recent human history, however, has rarely been systematically evaluated. Using Europe as our study area, we statistically compared yield ratio of wheat, rye, barley, and oats (an important performance indicator of an agrarian economy) between Eastern and Western Europe in AD 1500–1800. In particular, a statistical comparison was made of crop yield ratio in the two regions during the warm agricultural recovery period AD 1700–1800. The general trend of crop yield in Eastern and Western Europe basically followed the alternation of climatic epochs, in which the extreme cooling period in AD 1560–1660 drastically reduced the crop yield ratio. The yield ratio of rye in Eastern and Western Europe was very similar throughout the entire study period. However, the yield ratio of wheat, barley, and oats showed different patterns in the two regions and increased drastically in Western Europe in the warm agricultural recovery period, which might have contributed to rapid socio-economic development in Western Europe and eventually the East–West Divide in Europe in the following centuries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Small Scale Farmers’ Indigenous Agricultural Adaptation Options in the Face of Declining or Stagnant Crop Yields in the Fako and Meme Divisions of Cameroon
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 22; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020022
Received: 27 February 2016 / Revised: 12 May 2016 / Accepted: 18 May 2016 / Published: 24 May 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1636 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Research has proven that, at a national scale in Cameroon, arable crop production is either declining or stagnant. In the face of these trends, governments, local and international organizations, communities and peasant farmers have developed adaptation options to sustain arable production and reduce
[...] Read more.
Research has proven that, at a national scale in Cameroon, arable crop production is either declining or stagnant. In the face of these trends, governments, local and international organizations, communities and peasant farmers have developed adaptation options to sustain arable production and reduce poverty. Given this general context, and based on population perceptions and four study sites in the Southwest region of Cameroon, this study aims at verifying current trends in arable production and farmers’ adaptation options based on their indigenous knowledge. These analyses are based on the administration of 200 questionnaires and two focus group discussions (FGDs). The data were analysed using SPSS version 20 in which frequencies, percentages and means were calculated. In addition, the chi-squared statistical test of goodness of fit was calculated and the stated hypothesis was validated accordingly. The FGDs were analysed through verbatim transcriptions and with the aid of the context analysis software, Wordstat 7. The results show that current yields (2010–2014) in all the study sites are declining due to deforestation, poor governance, inadequate access to farm inputs such as fertilizers, increased economic opportunities elsewhere and a breakdown of cultural practices, while 10 years (2000–2010) previously, they had been increasing. It has also been found that the main adaptation options/coping mechanisms reported by the respondents in order of highest frquencies are: expansion of farm size, help from relatives and dependents that live on the farm, supplemental occupations or livelihood diversification and usage of organic fertilizers. From the chi-squared test, the alternate hypothesis that, “there is some difference between population proportions for different adaptation options or coping mechanisms” is validated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)

Review

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Open AccessReview Climate Change: Seed Production and Options for Adaptation
Agriculture 2016, 6(3), 33; doi:10.3390/agriculture6030033
Received: 8 April 2016 / Revised: 18 July 2016 / Accepted: 21 July 2016 / Published: 26 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (248 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Food security depends on seed security and the international seed industry must be able to continue to deliver the quantities of quality seed required for this purpose. Abiotic stress resulting from climate change, particularly elevated temperature and water stress, will reduce seed yield
[...] Read more.
Food security depends on seed security and the international seed industry must be able to continue to deliver the quantities of quality seed required for this purpose. Abiotic stress resulting from climate change, particularly elevated temperature and water stress, will reduce seed yield and quality. Options for the seed industry to adapt to climate change include moving sites for seed production, changing sowing date, and the development of cultivars with traits which allow them to adapt to climate change conditions. However, the ability of seed growers to make these changes is directly linked to the seed system. In the formal seed system operating in developed countries, implementation will be reasonably straight forward. In the informal system operating in developing countries, the current seed production challenges including supply failing to meet demand and poor seed quality will increase with changing climates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)
Open AccessReview Selection and Breeding of Suitable Crop Genotypes for Drought and Heat Periods in a Changing Climate: Which Morphological and Physiological Properties Should Be Considered?
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 26; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020026
Received: 19 April 2016 / Revised: 24 May 2016 / Accepted: 25 May 2016 / Published: 1 June 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1669 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Selection and breeding of genotypes with improved drought/heat tolerance become key issues in the course of global change with predicted increased frequency of droughts or heat waves. Several morphological and physiological plant traits must be considered. Rooting depth, root branching, nutrient acquisition, mycorrhization,
[...] Read more.
Selection and breeding of genotypes with improved drought/heat tolerance become key issues in the course of global change with predicted increased frequency of droughts or heat waves. Several morphological and physiological plant traits must be considered. Rooting depth, root branching, nutrient acquisition, mycorrhization, nodulation in legumes and the release of nutrients, assimilates or phytohormones to the shoot are relevant in root systems. Xylem embolism and its repair after a drought, development of axillary buds and solute channeling via xylem (acropetal) and phloem (basipetal and acropetal) are key processes in the stem. The photosynthetically active biomass depends on leaf expansion and senescence. Cuticle thickness and properties, epicuticular waxes, stomatal regulation including responses to phytohormones, stomatal plugs and mesophyll resistance are involved in optimizing leaf water relations. Aquaporins, dehydrins, enzymes involved in the metabolism of compatible solutes (e.g., proline) and Rubisco activase are examples for proteins involved in heat or drought susceptibility. Assimilate redistribution from leaves to maturing fruits via the phloem influences yield quantity and quality. Proteomic analyses allow a deeper insight into the network of stress responses and may serve as a basis to identify suitable genotypes, although improved stress tolerance will have its price (often lowered productivity under optimal conditions). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)
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