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Special Issue "Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Suren N. Kulshreshtha

College of Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-306-966-4014
Interests: climate change; greenhouse gas emissions; water resources; economics of agriculture; sustainability
Guest Editor
Prof. Elaine Wheaton

1. Department of Geography and Planning, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8, Canada
2. Emeritus Researcher, Saskatchewan Research Council, Saskatoon, SK S7N 2X8, Canada
E-Mail
Phone: +1-306-371-1205
Interests: climate change; agriculture; climate extremes; environmental science; sustainable development; climate impacts; adaptation; vulnerability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue would cover topics related to climate change and its relationship with the sustainability of agriculture. Sustainability (and sustainable development) covers environmental, social and economic dimensions, and requires a multi-disciplinary approach in order to examine, explore and critically engage with issues and advances in these and related areas. There is a need to examine the three pillars of sustainability in the context of agriculture and its interplay with climate change. As we are aware, climate change is a certainty and it affects many economic sectors, including agriculture. It would affect production, such as crop and livestock, differently. Vast regional differences are expected for various parts of the world. Trade patterns may change, and the entire supply chains may require reorganization. Overall, the economic fortunes of producers in different parts of the world would be affected. These distributive effects could even threaten food security in certain parts of the world. Agricultural sustainability may be especially threatened by climate extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, and floods. However, not all changes induced by climate change would be negative; some may even be positive. Undoubtedly, there would be gainers and losers within a nation, as well as among countries. Gains and losses would also change with time, depending on the various climate thresholds reached, for example. Achieving sustainability would require changes in the way we manage agriculture. Therefore, equally important in this discourse is to find solutions to achieve sustainability in the wake of climate change, one of the major threats to sustainability. Papers selected for this Special Issue will be subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments and applications.

Prof. Dr. Suren N. Kulshreshtha
Prof. Elaine Wheaton
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. Sustainability 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 1400 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

  • Sustainability
  • agricultural production
  • agricultural sustainability
  • climate change
  • climate extremes
  • climate variability
  • threats to sustainability
  • adaptation measures
  • regional differences
  • carbon dioxide effect
  • green agriculture
  • crops
  • livestock
  • soils
  • water
  • management for sustainability
  • climate-smart agriculture
  • food security

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle The Impact of Climatic Change Adaptation on Agricultural Productivity in Central Chile: A Stochastic Production Frontier Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1648; doi:10.3390/su9091648
Received: 23 June 2017 / Revised: 4 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 16 September 2017
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Abstract
Adaptation to climate change is imperative to sustain and promote agricultural productivity growth, and site-specific empirical evidence is needed to facilitate policy making. Therefore, this study analyses the impact of climate change adaptation on productivity for annual crops in Central Chile using a
[...] Read more.
Adaptation to climate change is imperative to sustain and promote agricultural productivity growth, and site-specific empirical evidence is needed to facilitate policy making. Therefore, this study analyses the impact of climate change adaptation on productivity for annual crops in Central Chile using a stochastic production frontier approach. The data come from a random sample of 265 farms located in four municipalities with different agro-climatic conditions. To measure climate change adaptation, a set of 14 practices was used in three different specifications: binary variable, count and index; representing decision, intensity and quality of adaptation, respectively. The aforementioned alternative variables were used in three different stochastic production frontier models. Results suggest that the use of adaptive practices had a significant and positive effect on productivity; the practice with the highest impact on productivity was irrigation improvement. Empirical results demonstrate the relevance of climate change adaptation on farmers’ productivity and enrich the discussion regarding the need to implement adaptation measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Participatory Sustainability Assessment for Sugarcane Expansion in Goiás, Brazil
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1573; doi:10.3390/su9091573
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 25 August 2017 / Accepted: 28 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
The sugarcane expansion in Brazil from 1990 to 2015 increased crop area by 135.1%, which represents more than 10 million hectares. Brazilian ethanol production hit a record high in 2015, reaching 30 billion liters, up 6% compared to 2014. In 2009, the Sugarcane
[...] Read more.
The sugarcane expansion in Brazil from 1990 to 2015 increased crop area by 135.1%, which represents more than 10 million hectares. Brazilian ethanol production hit a record high in 2015, reaching 30 billion liters, up 6% compared to 2014. In 2009, the Sugarcane Agroecology—ZAE-CANA—was launched to be a guideline to sustainable sugarcane production in Brazil. However, although it aims at sustainable production, it only considered natural aspects of the country, such as soil and climate. It is still necessary to develop instruments for studies on sustainability in all pillars. The aim of this study is to present the results regarding the application of the FoPIA (Framework for Participatory Impact Assessment) methodology in the Southwestern Goiás Planning Region (SGPR). FoPIA is a participatory methodology designed to assess the impacts of land use policies in regional sustainability, and the results showed the capacity of FoPIA to assess the impacts of land use change of the sugarcane expansion in that area. The major advantage of FoPIA is its participatory method feature, as it is possible to join stakeholders to debate and define sustainability guidelines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Planting Date on Accumulated Temperature and Maize Growth under Mulched Drip Irrigation in a Middle-Latitude Area with Frequent Chilling Injury
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1500; doi:10.3390/su9091500
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 9 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
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Abstract
Given that chilling injury, which involves late spring cold and early autumn freezing, significantly affects maize growth in middle-latitude cold areas, a highly efficient cultivation technique combining suitable planting date (PD) and mulched drip irrigation is being studied to guarantee maize production. A
[...] Read more.
Given that chilling injury, which involves late spring cold and early autumn freezing, significantly affects maize growth in middle-latitude cold areas, a highly efficient cultivation technique combining suitable planting date (PD) and mulched drip irrigation is being studied to guarantee maize production. A field experiment for medium-mature variety “Xianyu 335” was conducted in 2015 to 2016 in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China, to explore the effects of PD on the active accumulated temperature (AAT) distribution and maize growth under mulched drip irrigation. Based on the dates (around May 1) of late spring cold occurring in the area, four PDs were designed, namely, April 20 (MD1), May 2–3 (MD2), May 12 (MD3), and May 22 (MD4), and a non-film mulching treatment (NM-D2) was added on the second PD. Results indicated that: (1) the warming effect of film mulching effectively compensated for the lack of heat during the early stages of maize growth. Compared with that in NM-D2, the soil temperature under mulching in MD2 for the sowing–emergence and seedling stage increased by 14.3% and 7.6%, respectively, promoting maize emergence 4 days earlier and presenting 5.6% and 9.7% increases in emergence rate and grain yield, respectively; (2) the AAT reduction caused by PD delay was mainly observed in reproductive stage, which reached 96.6 °C for every 10 days of PD delay in this stage; (3) PD markedly affected maize growth process and yield, which were closely related to the chilling injury. The late spring cold slowed down the emergence or jointing for maize (under MD1 and MD2), but brought insignificant adverse effect on maize later growth and grain yield (16.1 and 15.9 Mg·ha−1, respectively). While the maize in both MD3 and MD4 treatments suffered from early autumn freezing damage at the anthesis–maturity stages, resulting in shortening in reproductive period by 4–8 days and decrease in grain yield by 11.4–17.3% compared with those in MD1 and MD2; and (4) taking the typical date (May 1) of late spring cold occurring as the starting point, the grain yield penalty reached 8.5% for every 10 days of PD delay; for every 100 °C of AAT decrease during reproductive stage, the grain yield decreased by 6.1%. The conclusions offer certain reference values for maize cultivation in the same latitude areas with similar ecological environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Financing High Performance Climate Adaptation in Agriculture: Climate Bonds for Multi-Functional Water Harvesting Infrastructure on the Canadian Prairies
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1237; doi:10.3390/su9071237
Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 4 July 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
International capital markets are responding to the global challenge of climate change, including through the use of labeled green and climate bonds earmarked for infrastructure projects associated with de-carbonization and to a lesser extent, projects that increase resilience to the impacts of climate
[...] Read more.
International capital markets are responding to the global challenge of climate change, including through the use of labeled green and climate bonds earmarked for infrastructure projects associated with de-carbonization and to a lesser extent, projects that increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. The potential to apply emerging climate bond certification standards to agricultural water management projects in major food production regions is examined with respect to a specific example of multi-functional distributed water harvesting on the Canadian Prairies, where climate impacts are projected to be high. The diverse range of co-benefits is examined using an ecosystem service lens, and they contribute to the overall value proposition of the infrastructure bond. Certification of a distributed water harvesting infrastructure bond under the Climate Bond Standard water criteria is feasible given climate bond issue precedents. The use of ecosystem service co-benefits as additional investment criteria are recommended as relevant bond certification standards continue to evolve. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Resilience for Whom? The Problem Structuring Process of the Resilience Analysis
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1196; doi:10.3390/su9071196
Received: 6 May 2017 / Revised: 4 June 2017 / Accepted: 3 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
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Abstract
Resilience is a flexible concept open to many different interpretations. The openness of resilience implies that while talking about resilience, stakeholders risk talking past each other. The plurality of the interpretations has practical implications in the analysis and planning of resilience. This paper
[...] Read more.
Resilience is a flexible concept open to many different interpretations. The openness of resilience implies that while talking about resilience, stakeholders risk talking past each other. The plurality of the interpretations has practical implications in the analysis and planning of resilience. This paper reflects on these implications that have so far not explicitly been addressed in the literature, by discussing the problem structuring process (PSP) of a modelling-based resilience analysis. The discussion is based on the analysis of food security resilience to climate change in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, jointly undertaken by the author, governmental authorities, small-scale farmers and academics of the national university. The aim of this discussion is to highlight the underestimated challenges and practical implications of the resilience concept ambiguity and potential avenues to address them. The contributions of the results presented in this paper are twofold. First, they show that, in practice, the resilience concept is constructed and subjective. Second, there remains a need for a participatory and contested framework for the PSP of resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Agronomic Impacts on Yield-Scaled N2O Emission from Wheat and Maize Fields in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1201; doi:10.3390/su9071201
Received: 22 March 2017 / Revised: 9 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
Contemporary crop production faces dual challenges of increasing crop yield while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emission. An integrated evaluation of the mitigation potential of yield-scaled nitrous oxide (N2O) emission by adjusting cropping practices can benefit the innovation of climate smart cropping.
[...] Read more.
Contemporary crop production faces dual challenges of increasing crop yield while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emission. An integrated evaluation of the mitigation potential of yield-scaled nitrous oxide (N2O) emission by adjusting cropping practices can benefit the innovation of climate smart cropping. This study conducted a meta-analysis to assess the impact of cropping systems and soil management practices on area- and yield-scaled N2O emissions during wheat and maize growing seasons in China. Results showed that the yield-scaled N2O emissions of winter wheat-upland crops rotation and single spring maize systems were respectively 64.6% and 40.2% lower than that of winter wheat-rice and summer maize-upland crops rotation systems. Compared to conventional N fertilizer, application of nitrification inhibitors and controlled-release fertilizers significantly decreased yield-scaled N2O emission by 41.7% and 22.0%, respectively. Crop straw returning showed no significant impacts on area- and yield-scaled N2O emissions. The effect of manure on yield-scaled N2O emission highly depended on its application mode. No tillage significantly increased the yield-scaled N2O emission as compared to conventional tillage. The above findings demonstrate that there is great potential to increase wheat and maize yields with lower N2O emissions through innovative cropping technique in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Social Vulnerability Assessment by Mapping Population Density and Pressure on Cropland in Shandong Province in China during the 17th–20th Century
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1171; doi:10.3390/su9071171
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
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Abstract
Cropland area per capita and pressure index on cropland are important parameters for measuring the social vulnerability and sustainability from the perspective of food security in a certain region in China during the historical periods. This study reconstructed the change in spatial distribution
[...] Read more.
Cropland area per capita and pressure index on cropland are important parameters for measuring the social vulnerability and sustainability from the perspective of food security in a certain region in China during the historical periods. This study reconstructed the change in spatial distribution of cropland area per labor/household and pressure index on cropland during the 17th–20th century by using historical documents, regression analysis, pressure index model, and GIS (geographic information system). Following this, we analyzed the impacting process of climate change and sustainability of cropland use during the different periods. The conclusions of this study are as follows: (i) there was an obvious spatial difference of labor/household density, as there was higher density in three agricultural areas, which had the same pattern as cropland distribution during the same periods; (ii) Cropland area per capita was relatively higher during the 17th–18th century, which were above 0.4 ha/person in the majority of counties and were distributed homogenously. Until the 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, cropland area per capita in a considerable proportion of regions decreased below 0.2 ha/person, which embodies the increase in social vulnerability and unsustainability at that time; (iii) The pressure index on cropland also showed a spatial pattern similar to cropland area per capita, which presented as having a lower threshold than nowadays. During the 17th–18th century, there was no pressure on cropland. In comparison, in the 19th century and at the beginning of 20th century, two high-value centers of pressure index on cropland appeared in the Middle Shandong and the Jiaodong region. As a result, pressure on cropland use increased and a food crisis was likely to have been created; (iv) A higher extent of sustainable cropland use corresponded to the cold period, while a lower extent of sustainable cropland use corresponded to the warm period in Shandong over the past 300 years. The turning point of the 1680s from dry to wet was not distinctively attributed to the decrease in the extent of sustainable cropland use in Shandong. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the increasing pressure on the sustainability of cropland use finally intensified the social conflict and increased the probability of social revolts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Estimation of the Virtual Water Content of Main Crops on the Korean Peninsula Using Multiple Regional Climate Models and Evapotranspiration Methods
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1172; doi:10.3390/su9071172
Received: 20 April 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 1 July 2017 / Published: 4 July 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (12166 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable agriculture in the era of climate change needs to find solutions for the retention and proper utilization of water. This study proposes an ensemble approach for identifying the virtual water content (VWC) of main crops on the Korean Peninsula in past and
[...] Read more.
Sustainable agriculture in the era of climate change needs to find solutions for the retention and proper utilization of water. This study proposes an ensemble approach for identifying the virtual water content (VWC) of main crops on the Korean Peninsula in past and future climates. Ensemble results with low uncertainty were obtained using three regional climate models, five potential evapotranspiration methods, and the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) crop model. The productivity results of major crops (rice and maize) under climate change are likely to increase more than in the past based on the ensemble results. The ensemble VWC is calculated using three types of crop yields and fifteen consumptive amounts of water use in the past and the future. While the ensemble VWC of rice and maize was 1.18 m3 kg−1 and 0.58 m3 kg−1, respectively, in the past, the future amounts were estimated at 0.76 m3 kg−1 and 0.48 m3 kg−1, respectively. The yields of both crops showed a decline in future projections, indicating that this change could have a positive impact on future water demand. The positive changes in crop productivity and water consumption due to climate change suggest that adaptation to climate change can be an opportunity for enhancing sustainability as well as for minimizing agricultural damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Conservation Farming and Changing Climate: More Beneficial than Conventional Methods for Degraded Ugandan Soils
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1084; doi:10.3390/su9071084
Received: 13 March 2017 / Revised: 7 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
The extent of land affected by degradation in Uganda ranges from 20% in relatively flat and vegetation-covered areas to 90% in the eastern and southwestern highlands. Land degradation has adversely affected smallholder agro-ecosystems including direct damage and loss of critical ecosystem services such
[...] Read more.
The extent of land affected by degradation in Uganda ranges from 20% in relatively flat and vegetation-covered areas to 90% in the eastern and southwestern highlands. Land degradation has adversely affected smallholder agro-ecosystems including direct damage and loss of critical ecosystem services such as agricultural land/soil and biodiversity. This study evaluated the extent of bare grounds in Nakasongola, one of the districts in the Cattle Corridor of Uganda and the yield responses of maize (Zea mays) and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) to different tillage methods in the district. Bare ground was determined by a supervised multi-band satellite image classification using the Maximum Likelihood Classifier (MLC). Field trials on maize and bean grain yield responses to tillage practices used a randomized complete block design with three replications, evaluating conventional farmer practice (CFP); permanent planting basins (PPB); and rip lines, with or without fertilizer in maize and bean rotations. Bare ground coverage in the Nakasongola District was 187 km2 (11%) of the 1741 km2 of arable land due to extreme cases of soil compaction. All practices, whether conventional or the newly introduced conservation farming practices in combination with fertilizer increased bean and maize grain yields, albeit with minimal statistical significance in some cases. The newly introduced conservation farming tillage practices increased the bean grain yield relative to conventional practices by 41% in PPBs and 43% in rip lines. In maize, the newly introduced conservation farming tillage practices increased the grain yield by 78% on average, relative to conventional practices. Apparently, conservation farming tillage methods proved beneficial relative to conventional methods on degraded soils, with the short-term benefit of increasing land productivity leading to better harvests and food security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Sustainability of Agriculture Stressed by Changing Extremes of Drought and Excess Moisture: A Conceptual Review
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 970; doi:10.3390/su9060970
Received: 14 February 2017 / Revised: 4 May 2017 / Accepted: 29 May 2017 / Published: 6 June 2017
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Abstract
As the climate changes, the effects of agriculture on the environment may change. In the future, an increasing frequency of climate extremes, such as droughts, heat waves, and excess moisture, is expected. Past research on the interaction between environment and resources has focused
[...] Read more.
As the climate changes, the effects of agriculture on the environment may change. In the future, an increasing frequency of climate extremes, such as droughts, heat waves, and excess moisture, is expected. Past research on the interaction between environment and resources has focused on climate change effects on various sectors, including agricultural production (especially crop production), but research on the effects of climate change using agri-environmental indicators (AEI) of environmental sustainability of agriculture is limited. The aim of this paper was to begin to address this knowledge gap by exploring the effects of future drought and excess moisture on environmental sustainability of agriculture. Methods included the use of a conceptual framework, literature reviews, and an examination of the climate sensitivities of the AEI models. The AEIs assessed were those for the themes of soil and water quality, and farmland management as developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Additional indicators included one for desertification and another for water supply and demand. The study area was the agricultural region of the Canadian Prairie Provinces. We found that the performance of several indicators would likely decrease in a warming climate with more extremes. These indicators with declining performances included risks for soil erosion, soil salinization, desertification, water quality and quantity, and soil contamination. Preliminary trends of other indicators such as farmland management were not clear. AEIs are important tools for measuring climate impacts on the environmental sustainability of agriculture. They also indicate the success of adaptation measures and suggest areas of operational and policy development. Therefore, continued reporting and enhancement of these indicators is recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Adaptive Effectiveness of Irrigated Area Expansion in Mitigating the Impacts of Climate Change on Crop Yields in Northern China
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 851; doi:10.3390/su9050851
Received: 22 February 2017 / Revised: 3 May 2017 / Accepted: 12 May 2017 / Published: 19 May 2017
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Abstract
To improve adaptive capacity and further strengthen the role of irrigation in mitigating climate change impacts, the Chinese government has planned to expand irrigated areas by 4.4% by the 2030s. Examining the adaptive potential of irrigated area expansion under climate change is therefore
[...] Read more.
To improve adaptive capacity and further strengthen the role of irrigation in mitigating climate change impacts, the Chinese government has planned to expand irrigated areas by 4.4% by the 2030s. Examining the adaptive potential of irrigated area expansion under climate change is therefore critical. Here, we assess the effects of irrigated area expansion on crop yields based on county-level data during 1980–2011 in northern China and estimate climate impacts under irrigated area scenarios in the 2030s. Based on regression analysis, there is a statistically significant effect of irrigated area expansion on reducing negative climate impacts. More irrigated areas indicate less heat and drought impacts. Irrigated area expansion will alleviate yield reduction by 0.7–0.8% in the future but associated yield benefits will still not compensate for greater adverse climate impacts. Yields are estimated to decrease by 4.0–6.5% under future climate conditions when an additional 4.4% of irrigated area is established, and no fundamental yield increase with an even further 10% or 15% expansion of irrigated area is predicted. This finding suggests that expected adverse climate change risks in the 2030s cannot be mitigated by expanding irrigated areas. A combination of this and other adaptation programs is needed to guarantee grain production under more serious drought stresses in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle An Economic Assessment of Local Farm Multi-Purpose Surface Water Retention Systems under Future Climate Uncertainty
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 456; doi:10.3390/su9030456
Received: 21 November 2016 / Revised: 9 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5842 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Regions dependent on agricultural production are concerned about the uncertainty associated with climate change. Extreme drought and flooding events are predicted to occur with greater frequency, requiring mitigation strategies to reduce their negative impacts. Multi-purpose local farm water retention systems can reduce water
[...] Read more.
Regions dependent on agricultural production are concerned about the uncertainty associated with climate change. Extreme drought and flooding events are predicted to occur with greater frequency, requiring mitigation strategies to reduce their negative impacts. Multi-purpose local farm water retention systems can reduce water stress during drought periods by supporting irrigation. The retention systems’ capture of excess spring runoff and extreme rainfall events also reduces flood potential downstream. Retention systems may also be used for biomass production and nutrient retention. A sub-watershed scale retention system was analysed using a dynamic simulation model to predict the economic advantages in the future. Irrigated crops using water from the downstream reservoir at Pelly’s Lake, Manitoba, Canada, experienced a net decrease in gross margin in the future due to the associated irrigation and reservoir infrastructure costs. However, the multi-purpose benefits of the retention system at Pelly’s Lake of avoided flood damages, nutrient retention, carbon sequestration, and biomass production provide an economic benefit of $25,507.00/hectare of retention system/year. Multi-purpose retention systems under future climate uncertainty provide economic and environmental gains when used to avoid flood damages, for nutrient retention and carbon sequestration, and biomass production. The revenue gained from these functions can support farmers willing to invest in irrigation while providing economic and environmental benefits to the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Comparison of Organic and Integrated Nutrient Management Strategies for Reducing Soil N2O Emissions
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 510; doi:10.3390/su9040510
Received: 25 January 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 22 March 2017 / Published: 28 March 2017
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Abstract
To prevent nutrient limitations to crop growth, nitrogen is often applied in agricultural systems in the form of organic inputs (e.g., crop residues, manure, compost, etc.) or inorganic fertilizer. Inorganic nitrogen fertilizer has large environmental and economic costs, particularly for low-input smallholder farming
[...] Read more.
To prevent nutrient limitations to crop growth, nitrogen is often applied in agricultural systems in the form of organic inputs (e.g., crop residues, manure, compost, etc.) or inorganic fertilizer. Inorganic nitrogen fertilizer has large environmental and economic costs, particularly for low-input smallholder farming systems. The concept of combining organic, inorganic, and biological nutrient sources through Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) is increasingly promoted as a means of improving nutrient use efficiency by matching soil nutrient availability with crop demand. While the majority of previous research on INM has focused on soil quality and yield, potential climate change impacts have rarely been assessed. In particular, it remains unclear whether INM increases or decreases soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions compared to organic nitrogen inputs, which may represent an overlooked environmental tradeoff. The objectives of this review were to (i) summarize the mechanisms influencing N2O emissions in response to organic and inorganic nitrogen (N) fertilizer sources, (ii) synthesize findings from the limited number of field experiments that have directly compared N2O emissions for organic N inputs vs. INM treatments, (iii) develop a hypothesis for conditions under which INM reduces N2O emissions and (iv) identify key knowledge gaps to address in future research. In general, INM treatments having low carbon to nitrogen ratio C:N (<8) tended to reduce emissions compared to organic amendments alone, while INM treatments with higher C:N resulted in no change or increased N2O emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
Open AccessReview Diamondback Moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) in Southern Africa: Research Trends, Challenges and Insights on Sustainable Management Options
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 91; doi:10.3390/su9020091
Received: 5 November 2016 / Revised: 24 December 2016 / Accepted: 30 December 2016 / Published: 3 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1965 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella, is a global economic pest of brassicas whose pest status has been exacerbated by climate change and variability. Southern African small-scale farmers are battling to cope with increasing pressure from the pest due to limited exposure
[...] Read more.
The diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella, is a global economic pest of brassicas whose pest status has been exacerbated by climate change and variability. Southern African small-scale farmers are battling to cope with increasing pressure from the pest due to limited exposure to sustainable control options. The current paper critically analysed literature with a climate change and sustainability lens. The results show that research in Southern Africa (SA) remains largely constrained despite the region’s long acquaintance with the insect pest. Dependency on broad-spectrum insecticides, the absence of insecticide resistance management strategies, climate change, little research attention, poor regional research collaboration and coordination, and lack of clear policy support frameworks, are the core limitations to effective DBM management. Advances in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technologies and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) techniques for sustainable pest management have not benefitted small-scale horticultural farmers despite the farmers’ high vulnerability to crop losses due to pest attack. IPM adoption was mainly limited by lack of locally-developed packages, lack of stakeholders’ concept appreciation, limited alternatives to chemical control, knowledge paucity on biocontrol, climate mismatch between biocontrol agents’ origin and release sites, and poor research expertise and funding. We discuss these challenges in light of climate change and variability impacts on small-scale farmers in SA and recommend climate-smart, holistic, and sustainable homegrown IPM options propelled through IPM-Farmer Field School approaches for widespread and sustainable adoption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Climate variability and change in the state of Bihar: Challenges and opportunities for sustainable crop production
Authors: Kindie Tesfaye; Pramod K. Aggarwal; Fasil Mequanint; Paresh Shirsath; Olaf Erenstein
Abstract: Climate change and uncertainties associated with it have serious direct and indirect consequences for crop production and food security in many developing regions like the state of Bihar in India. In agriculture-based developing regions, analysis of climate data provides useful information in identifying climate risks and anticipating new ones for planning appropriate adaptation and mitigation options. The aim of this study was to identify near-term (2030) and mid-term (2050) climate risks and/or opportunities in Bihar using thirty years (1980-2009) past records as a baseline and discuss the implications of the changes on sustainable crop production in the state. The results indicate that rainfall, maximum and minimum temperatures, and evapotranspiration will increase in the near- and mid- terms periods relative to the baseline period with the magnitude of the change varying with time, season and location. The major climate risks for crop production in Bihar will be heat stress mainly due to increasing minimum temperatures in the rabi (October-January) season and high minimum and maximum temperatures in the spring (February-May) season, and intense rainfall and longer dry spells in the kharif (June-September) season with the magnitude of the risks varying with location. The opportunities that could come with climate in Bihar are an increase in annual and seasonal rainfall amounts, and extended crop growing period in the kharif season. In general, increasing temperature across the state will have considerable negative consequences on staple crops of the state by affecting crop phenology, physiology and plant-water relations. Therefore, the results of this study are useful in developing site-specific adaptation and mitigation options that minimize the negative effects of climate change while maximizing the opportunities that come with it.
Keywords: Bihar; climate analysis; climate change, India; Sustainable crop production

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