Special Issue "Climate Change in Complex Systems: Effects, Adaptations, and Policy Considerations for Agriculture and Ecosystems"

A special issue of Climate (ISSN 2225-1154).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Bruce A. McCarl
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 USA
Interests: climate change economics; resource economics; agricultural economics; mathematical programming; GAMS
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Anastasia W. Thayer
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Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Economics Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 USA; Department of Applied Economics at Utah State University (starting January 2020)
Interests: resource economics; agricultural economics; climate change
Prof. Dr. Thomas Lacher
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at TexasA&M University, College Station, TX 77843 USA
Interests: conservation biology; tropical ecology; conservation planning; biodiversity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Aurora M Vargas
Website
Guest Editor
Agricultural Economics/College of Agriculture, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
Interests: natural resource economics; agricultural economics; environmental economics; climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

To date, much of the land- and water-related literature on climate change effects and adaptation efforts has generally focused on either agriculture or ecosystems. Consequently, the interdependence of agriculture and ecosystems through runoff, trade-offs, feedback loops, and synergistic effects has been largely overlooked. Given that global climate change is expected to lead to pronounced changes to both of these systems, independent analyses of these systems might overlook the key interrelationships necessary for understanding the vulnerabilities, adaptation possibilities, and outcomes. In contrast, comprehensive research efforts that consider both systems concurrently are likely to provide more comprehensive and accurate conclusions.

In this Special Issue, we seek research that explores climate change effects and adaptation at the intersection of agriculture and ecosystems. Possible topics could explore and evaluate (1) agricultural vulnerabilities and adaptations, including implications for environmental quality and biodiversity; (2) ecological vulnerabilities and adaptations, including implications for agriculture; (3) joint resource management issues; and (4) how agricultural–ecology interdependencies and feedbacks will influence the scale and nature of climate effects and adaptive actions. Emphasis will be placed on drawing implications across the interrelated agricultural and ecological landscapes, while identifying challenges for policy and adaptation efforts under a changing climate.

Kind regards,

Prof. Dr. Bruce A. McCarl
Dr. Anastasia W. Thayer
Prof. Dr. Thomas Lacher
Dr. Aurora M Vargas
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. Climate 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 1000 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
  • agriculture
  • ecosystems
  • biodiversity
  • economics
  • policy
  • adaptation

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Disconnect within Agriculture and Ecosystem Climate Effects, Adaptations and Policy
Climate 2020, 8(5), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8050063 - 13 May 2020
Abstract
Frequently, agriculture and ecosystems (AE) are seen as separate entities, causing entity specific solutions in response to threats [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change Adaptation Options for Coastal Communities and Local Governments
Climate 2020, 8(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8010007 - 07 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Extreme weather events and failure to adapt to the likely impacts of climate change are two of the most significant threats to humanity. Therefore, many local communities are preparing adaptation plans. Even so, much of what was done has not been published in [...] Read more.
Extreme weather events and failure to adapt to the likely impacts of climate change are two of the most significant threats to humanity. Therefore, many local communities are preparing adaptation plans. Even so, much of what was done has not been published in the peer-reviewed literature. This means that consideration of adaptation options for local communities is limited. With the objective of assisting in the development of adaptation plans, we present 80 adaptation options suitable for coastal communities that can be applied by local governments. They are a catena of options from defend to co-exist and finally, retreat that progresses as impacts become less manageable. Options are organized according to their capacity to protect local properties and infrastructure, natural systems, food production, availability of fresh and drinking water and well-being of the local population, as these are likely to be affected by climate change. To respond to multiple threats, ‘soft’ options, such as awareness raising, planning, political articulation and financial incentives, insurance and professional skills enhancement, can be encouraged immediately at relatively low cost and are reversible. For specific threats, options emphasize change in management practices as pre-emptive measures. Key audiences for this work are communities and local governments starting to consider priority actions to respond to climate change impacts. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Perception of Environmental Spillovers Across Scale in Climate Change Adaptation Planning: The Case of Small-Scale Farmers’ Irrigation Strategies, Kenya
Climate 2020, 8(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8010003 - 26 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The failure to acknowledge and account for environmental externalities or spillovers in climate change adaptation policy, advocacy, and programming spaces exacerbate the risk of ecological degradation, and more so, the degradation of land. The use of unsuitable water sources for irrigation may increase [...] Read more.
The failure to acknowledge and account for environmental externalities or spillovers in climate change adaptation policy, advocacy, and programming spaces exacerbate the risk of ecological degradation, and more so, the degradation of land. The use of unsuitable water sources for irrigation may increase salinisation risks. However, few if any policy assessments and research efforts have been directed at investigating how farmer perceptions mediate spillovers from the ubiquitous irrigation adaptation strategy. In this study, the cognitive failure and/or bias construct is examined and proposed as an analytical lens in research, policy, and learning and the convergence of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation discourses. A cross-sectional survey design and multistage stratified sampling were used to collect data from 69 households. To elicit the environmental impacts of irrigation practices, topsoil and subsoils from irrigated and non-irrigated sites were sampled and analysed using AAS (atomic absorption spectrophotometer). A generalised linear logistic weight estimation procedure was used to analyse the perception of risks while an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyse changes in exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP). The findings from small-scale farmers in Machakos and Kakamega counties, Kenya, suggest multifaceted biases and failures about the existence and importance of externalities in adaptation planning discourses. Among other dimensions, a cognitive failure which encompasses fragmented approaches among institutions for use and management of resources, inadequate policy. and information support, as well as the poor integration of actors in adaptation planning accounts for adaptation failure. The failures in such human–environment system interactions have the potential to exacerbate the existing vulnerability of farmer production systems in the long run. The findings further suggest that in absence of risk message information dissemination, education level, farming experience, and information accumulation, as integral elements to human capital, do not seem to have a significant effect on behaviour concerning the mitigation of environmental spillovers. Implicitly, reversing the inherent adaptation failures calls for system approaches that enhance coordinated adaptation planning, prioritise the proactive mitigation of slow-onset disaster risks, and broadens decision support systems such as risk information dissemination integration, into the existing adaptation policy discourses and practice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Economic and Ecological Impacts of Increased Drought Frequency in the Edwards Aquifer
Climate 2020, 8(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8010002 - 20 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper examines how increased drought frequency impacts water management in arid region, namely the Edwards Aquifer (EA) region of Texas. Specifically, we examine effects on the municipal, industrial, and agricultural water use; land allocation; endangered species supporting springflows and welfare. We find [...] Read more.
This paper examines how increased drought frequency impacts water management in arid region, namely the Edwards Aquifer (EA) region of Texas. Specifically, we examine effects on the municipal, industrial, and agricultural water use; land allocation; endangered species supporting springflows and welfare. We find that increases in drought frequency causes agriculture to reduce irrigation moving land into grassland for livestock with a net income loss. This also increases water transfer from irrigation uses to municipal and industrial uses. Additionally, we find that regional springflows and well elevation will decline under more frequent drought condition, which implicates the importance of pumping limits and/or minimum springflow limits. Such developments have ecological implications and the springflows support endangered species and a switch from irrigated land use to grasslands would affect the regional ecological mix. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Climate Change Impacts on Forest Management: A Case of Korean Oak Wilt
Climate 2019, 7(12), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7120141 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Climate change is expected to affect the occurrence of forest pests. This study depicts a method to measure the impact of damage inflicted by a forest pest like oak wilt as a result of climate change. We determine the damage function considering the [...] Read more.
Climate change is expected to affect the occurrence of forest pests. This study depicts a method to measure the impact of damage inflicted by a forest pest like oak wilt as a result of climate change. We determine the damage function considering the factors related to the pest damage and forecast the future damage rate under future climate change. We estimated the damage rate by using the quasi-maximum likelihood estimation (QMLE) and predicted the future damage rate by using representative concentration pathways (RCP) 8.5 data. We assessed the impact of pests on the management income and the rotation age by using a dynamic optimization model. The results show that the damage rate and the affected area from oak wilt would increase under the climate change. In addition, the economic evaluation indicates that altered climate would reduce the management returns and increase uncertainty. However, these outcomes could be alleviated by carrying out the control and prevention measures after the infection occurs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Achieving Food Security in a Climate Change Environment: Considerations for Environmental Kuznets Curve Use in the South African Agricultural Sector
Climate 2019, 7(9), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7090108 - 03 Sep 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
This study relates agricultural income and agricultural carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the context of environmental Kuznets curves for South Africa. We posit likely relationships between UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1, 2 and 13, relating food production to climate change [...] Read more.
This study relates agricultural income and agricultural carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the context of environmental Kuznets curves for South Africa. We posit likely relationships between UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1, 2 and 13, relating food production to climate change action. CO2 emissions, income, coal energy consumption and electricity energy consumption time series data from 1990 to 2012 within the South African agricultural sector were used. The autoregressive distributive lag bounds-test and the error correction model were used to analyse the data. The results show long-run relationships. However, agricultural income was only significant in the linear and squared models. Changes in agricultural CO2 emissions from the short run towards the long run are estimated at 71.9%, 124.7% and 125.3% every year by the linear, squared and cubic models, respectively. Exponentially increasing agricultural income did not result in a decrease in agricultural CO2 emissions, which is at odds with the Kuznets hypothesis. The study concludes that it will be difficult for South Africa to simultaneously achieve SDGs 1, 2 and 13, especially given that agriculture is reliant upon livestock production, the largest CO2 emitter in the sector. The sector needs to shift to renewable energy consumption with fewer CO2 emissions. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Future of Semi-Arid Regions: A Weak Fabric Unravels
Climate 2020, 8(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8030043 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The regions of the world where average precipitation is between one fifth and half of the potential plant water demand are termed ‘semi-arid’. They make up 15.2% of the global land surface, and the approximately 1.1 billion people who live there are among [...] Read more.
The regions of the world where average precipitation is between one fifth and half of the potential plant water demand are termed ‘semi-arid’. They make up 15.2% of the global land surface, and the approximately 1.1 billion people who live there are among the world’s poorest. The inter-annual variability of rainfall in semi-arid regions is exceptionally high, due to intrinsic features of the global atmospheric circulation. The observed and projected climate trends for most semi-arid regions indicate warming at rates above the global mean rate over land, increasing evaporative demand, and reduced and more variable rainfall. Historically, the ecosystems and people coped with the challenges of semi-arid climates using a range of strategies that are now less viable. Semi-arid ecosystems are by definition water limited, generally only suitable for extensive pastoralism and opportunistic cropping, unless irrigation supplementation is available. The characteristics of dryland plant production in semi-arid ecosystems, as they interact with climate change and human systems, provide a conceptual framework for why land degradation is so conspicuous in semi-arid regions. The coupled social-ecological failures are contagious, both within the landscape and at regional and global scales. Thus, semi-arid lands are a likely flashpoint for Earth system changes in the 21st century. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Integrating Agriculture and Ecosystems to Find Suitable Adaptations to Climate Change
Climate 2020, 8(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8010010 - 09 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Climate change is altering agricultural production and ecosystems around the world. Future projections indicate that additional change is expected in the coming decades, forcing individuals and communities to respond and adapt. Current research efforts typically examine climate change effects and possible adaptations but [...] Read more.
Climate change is altering agricultural production and ecosystems around the world. Future projections indicate that additional change is expected in the coming decades, forcing individuals and communities to respond and adapt. Current research efforts typically examine climate change effects and possible adaptations but fail to integrate agriculture and ecosystems. This failure to jointly consider these systems and associated externalities may underestimate climate change impacts or cause adaptation implementation surprises, such as causing adaptation status of some groups or ecosystems to be worsened. This work describes and motivates reasons why ecosystems and agriculture adaptation require an integrated analytical approach. Synthesis of current literature and examples from Texas are used to explain concepts and current challenges. Texas is chosen because of its high agricultural output that is produced in close interrelationship with the surrounding semi-arid ecosystem. We conclude that future effect and adaptation analyses would be wise to jointly consider ecosystems and agriculture. Existing paradigms and useful methodology can be transplanted from the sustainable agriculture and ecosystem service literature to explore alternatives for climate adaptation and incentivization of private agriculturalists and consumers. Researchers are encouraged to adopt integrated modeling as a means to avoid implementation challenges and surprises when formulating and implementing adaptation. Full article
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