Special Issue "Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Kathy Lewis

Agriculture and Environment Research Unit, University of Hertfordshire, Department of Biology and Environment Science, Hatfield, United Kingdom
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Phone: +44 (0)1707284582
Fax: +44 (0)1707284582
Interests: environmental impacts of agriculture & land use; agri-environmental management; agriculture and climate change; fate and toxicity of agricultural chemicals; agricultural risk assessment and regulation. agri-environmental management; agriculture and climate change; fate and toxicity of agricultural chemicals; agricultural risk assessment and regulation
Guest Editor
Dr. Douglas Warner

Agriculture and Environment Research Unit, University of Hertfordshire, Department of Biology and Environment Science, Hatfield, United Kingdom
Website | E-Mail
Interests: agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and their mitigation; carbon sequestration; integrated farm management and ecologically based methods of pest control; precision agriculture and farmland bio-diversity and conservation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agriculture both contributes to climate change and is affected by climate change. In particular, agricultural practices and processes can result in significant amounts of methane and nitrous oxide, two powerful greenhouse gases, being released. According to the OECD, agriculture contributes a significant share of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are causing climate change: approximately 17% directly through agricultural activities and an additional 7% to 14% through land use changes. Agriculture is also likely to be severely affected by climate change. Flooding and droughts will be more common and productivity is expected to decrease in certain parts of the world. However, there is significant potential for efficiency savings and technical solutions exist but these must be done in a sustainable manner to ensure that the solution does not cause other socio-economic or environmental problems. They must also be tailored to individual regions and farming systems. This Special Issue aims to contribute to the state-of-art regarding climate friendly options for sustainable agriculture. Of interest are original manuscripts focusing on the impacts of climate change on agricultural production and the broad sustainability of adaptation techniques.

Prof. Dr. Kathy Lewis
Dr. Douglas Warner
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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 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

  • agriculture
  • climate change impacts on agriculture
  • sustainable farming
  • sustainable intensification
  • food security
  • agroecology

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change-Induced Impacts on Smallholder Farmers in Selected Districts of Sidama, Southern Ethiopia
Climate 2019, 7(5), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7050070
Received: 20 April 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
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Abstract
Different factors control the types of adaptive strategies and likelihoods of experiencing climate change-induced impacts by smallholder farmers. By using a mixed research method, this study examines the types and determinants of climate change-induced impacts on smallholder rural farmers in drought-prone low lands [...] Read more.
Different factors control the types of adaptive strategies and likelihoods of experiencing climate change-induced impacts by smallholder farmers. By using a mixed research method, this study examines the types and determinants of climate change-induced impacts on smallholder rural farmers in drought-prone low lands of Sidama, Southern Ethiopia. Randomly selected (401) households were surveyed on climate change-induced impacts. Longitudinal climatic data were also collected from the Ethiopian National Meteorological Agency to assess the trend of rainfall (RF), temperature and drought incidents. The analyses of the data revealed that RF and temperature had shown decreasing and increasing trends, respectively, during the three decades under consideration (1983–2014). These changes in RF and temperature exposed farmers to climate-related epidemics, drought, harvest loss, and hunger. The logit model results revealed that different factors control the likelihood of exposure to climate change-induced impacts. The findings revealed that literacy level, involving women in family decisions and farmers’ involvement in adaptation planning, reduces the likelihood of exposure to climate change-induced hunger. Therefore, there is a need to work on human capital of the farmers through expanding education, strengthening women’s participation in family decision-making, and by improving public participation in climate change adaptation undertakings to minimize climate change-induced impacts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Climate Change on Twenty-First Century Crop Yields in the U.S.
Climate 2019, 7(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7030040
Received: 3 February 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 8 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
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Abstract
Crop yields are strongly dependent on the average climate, extreme temperatures, and carbon dioxide concentrations, all of which are projected to increase in the coming century. In this study, a statistical model was created to predict US yields to 2100 for three crops [...] Read more.
Crop yields are strongly dependent on the average climate, extreme temperatures, and carbon dioxide concentrations, all of which are projected to increase in the coming century. In this study, a statistical model was created to predict US yields to 2100 for three crops using low and high-emissions future scenarios (RCP 4.5 and 8.5). The model is based on linear regressions between historical crop yields and daily weather observations since 1970 for every county in the US. Yields were found to be most strongly dependent on heat waves, summer average temperatures, and killing degree days; these relationships were hence used to predict future yields. The model shows that warming temperatures will significantly decrease corn and soybean yields, but will not have as strong of an influence on rice. Before accounting for CO2 fertilization, crops in the high-emissions scenario are predicted to produce 77%, 85%, and 96% of their expected yield without climate change for corn, soybeans, and rice, respectively. When a simple CO2 fertilization factor is included, corn, a C4 plant, increases slightly, while the yields of the C3 plants (soybeans and rice) are actually predicted to increase compared to today’s yields. This study exhibits the wide range of possible impacts of climate change on crop yields in the coming century, and emphasizes the need for field research on the combined effects of CO2 fertilization and heat extremes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
The Nexus of Weather Extremes to Agriculture Production Indexes and the Future Risk in Ghana
Climate 2018, 6(4), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6040086
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 23 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 31 October 2018
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Abstract
The agricultural industry employs a large workforce in Ghana and remains the primary source of food security and income. The consequences of extreme weather in this sector can be catastrophic. A consistent picture of meteorological risk and adaptation patterns can lead to useful [...] Read more.
The agricultural industry employs a large workforce in Ghana and remains the primary source of food security and income. The consequences of extreme weather in this sector can be catastrophic. A consistent picture of meteorological risk and adaptation patterns can lead to useful information, which can help local farmers make informed decisions to advance their livelihoods. We modelled historical data using extreme value theory and structural equation modelling. Subsequently, we studied extreme weather variability and its relationship to composite indicators of agricultural production and the long-term trend of weather risk. Minimum and maximum annual temperatures have negligible heterogeneity in their trends, while the annual maximum rainfall is homogenous in trend. Severe rainfall affects cereals and cocoa production, resulting in reduced yields. Cereals and cocoa grow well when there is even distribution of rainfall. The return levels for the next 20–100 years are gradually increasing with the long-term prediction of extreme weather. Also, heavy rains affect cereals and cocoa production negatively. All indicators of agriculture had a positive relationship with maximum extreme weather. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
Possible Scenarios of Winter Wheat Yield Reduction of Dryland Qazvin Province, Iran, Based on Prediction of Temperature and Precipitation Till the End of the Century
Climate 2018, 6(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6040078
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 19 September 2018 / Accepted: 21 September 2018 / Published: 23 September 2018
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Abstract
The climate of the Earth is changing. The Earth’s temperature is projected to maintain its upward trend in the next few decades. Temperature and precipitation are two very important factors affecting crop yields, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. There is a need [...] Read more.
The climate of the Earth is changing. The Earth’s temperature is projected to maintain its upward trend in the next few decades. Temperature and precipitation are two very important factors affecting crop yields, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. There is a need for future climate predictions to protect vulnerable sectors like agriculture in drylands. In this study, the downscaling of two important climatic variables—temperature and precipitation—was done by the CanESM2 and HadCM3 models under five different scenarios for the semi-arid province of Qazvin, located in Iran. The most efficient scenario was selected to predict the dryland winter wheat yield of the province for the three periods: 2010–2039, 2040–2069, and 2070–2099. The results showed that the models are able to satisfactorily predict the daily mean temperature and annual precipitation for the three mentioned periods. Generally, the daily mean temperature and annual precipitation tended to decrease in these periods when compared to the current reference values. However, the scenarios rcp2.6 and B2, respectively, predicted that the precipitation will fall less or even increase in the period 2070–2099. The scenario rcp2.6 seemed to be the most efficient to predict the dryland winter wheat yield of the province for the next few decades. The grain yield is projected to drop considerably over the three periods, especially in the last period, mainly due to the reduction in precipitation in March. This leads us to devise some adaptive strategies to prevent the detrimental impacts of climate change on the dryland winter wheat yield of the province. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
The Value of Tactical Adaptation to El Niño–Southern Oscillation for East Australian Wheat
Climate 2018, 6(3), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6030077
Received: 6 August 2018 / Revised: 7 September 2018 / Accepted: 8 September 2018 / Published: 11 September 2018
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Abstract
El Niño–Southern Oscillation strongly influences rainfall and temperature patterns in Eastern Australia, with major impacts on frost, heat, and drought stresses, and potential consequences for wheat production. Wheat phenology is a key factor to adapt to the risk of frost, heat, and drought [...] Read more.
El Niño–Southern Oscillation strongly influences rainfall and temperature patterns in Eastern Australia, with major impacts on frost, heat, and drought stresses, and potential consequences for wheat production. Wheat phenology is a key factor to adapt to the risk of frost, heat, and drought stresses in the Australian wheatbelt. This study explores broad and specific options to adapt wheat cropping systems to El Niño–Southern Oscillation, and more specifically, to the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) phases ahead of the season (i.e., April forecast) in Eastern Australia, when wheat producers make their most crucial management decisions. Crop model simulations were performed for commercially-grown wheat varieties, as well as for virtual genotypes representing possible combinations of phenology alleles that are currently present in the Australian wheat germplasm pool. Different adaptation strategies were tested at the site level, across Eastern Australia, for a wide range of sowing dates and nitrogen applications over long-term historical weather records (1900–2016). The results highlight that a fixed adaptation system, with genotype maturities, sowing time, and nitrogen application adapted to each location would greatly increase wheat productivity compared to sowing a mid-maturity genotype, mid-season, using current practices for nitrogen applications. Tactical adaptation of both genotype and management to the different SOI phases and to different levels of initial Plant Available Water (‘PAW & SOI adaptation’) resulted in further yield improvement. Site long-term increases in yield and gross margin were up to 1.15 t·ha−1 and AU$ 223.0 ha−1 for fixed adaptation (0.78 t·ha−1 and AU$ 153 ha−1 on average across the whole region), and up to an extra 0.26 t·ha−1 and AU$ 63.9 ha−1 for tactical adaptation. For the whole eastern region, these results correspond to an annual AU$ 440 M increase for the fixed adaptation, and an extra AU$ 188 M for the PAW & SOI tactical adaptation. The benefits of PAW & SOI tactical adaptation could be useful for growers to adjust farm management practices according to pre-sowing seasonal conditions and the seasonal climate forecast. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
Farmers’ Net Income Distribution and Regional Vulnerability to Climate Change: An Empirical Study of Bangladesh
Climate 2018, 6(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6030065
Received: 14 June 2018 / Revised: 15 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Widespread poverty is the most serious threat and social problem that Bangladesh faces. Regional vulnerability to climate change threatens to escalate the magnitude of poverty. It is essential that poverty projections be estimated while bearing in mind the effects of climate change. The [...] Read more.
Widespread poverty is the most serious threat and social problem that Bangladesh faces. Regional vulnerability to climate change threatens to escalate the magnitude of poverty. It is essential that poverty projections be estimated while bearing in mind the effects of climate change. The main purpose of this paper is to perform an agrarian sub-national regional analysis of climate change vulnerability in Bangladesh under various climate change scenarios and evaluate its potential impact on poverty. This study is relevant to socio-economic research on climate change vulnerability and agriculture risk management and has the potential to contribute new insights to the complex interactions between household income and climate change risks to agricultural communities in Bangladesh and South Asia. This study uses analysis of variance, cluster analysis, decomposition of variance and log-normal distribution to estimate the parameters of income variability that can be used to ascertain vulnerability levels and help us to understand the poverty levels that climate change could potentially generate. It is found that the levels and sources of income vary greatly among regions of Bangladesh. The variance decomposition of income showed that agricultural income in Mymensingh and Rangpur is the main cause of the total income difference among all sources of income. Moreover, a large variance in agricultural income among regions is induced by the gross income from rice production. Additionally, even in the long run the gradual, constant reduction of rice yield due to climate change in Bangladesh is not a severe problem for farmers. However, extreme events such as floods, flash floods, droughts, sea level rise and greenhouse gas emissions, based on Representative concentration pathways (RCPs), could increase the poverty rates in Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Barisal and Khulna—regions that would be greatly affected by unexpected yield losses due to extreme climatic events. Therefore, research into and development of adaptation measures to climate change in regions where farmers are largely dependent on agricultural income are important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
On-Farm Evaluation of the Potential Use of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Techniques for Rice Cultivation: A Case Study in Thailand
Climate 2018, 6(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6020036
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 22 April 2018 / Accepted: 25 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
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Abstract
Environmental and socio-economic evaluations that imply techniques for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from rice cultivation are a challenging and controversial issue. This study was designed to investigate the potential use of mitigation techniques for rice cultivation. Mid-season drainage (MD), using ammonium sulfate [...] Read more.
Environmental and socio-economic evaluations that imply techniques for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from rice cultivation are a challenging and controversial issue. This study was designed to investigate the potential use of mitigation techniques for rice cultivation. Mid-season drainage (MD), using ammonium sulfate instead of urea (AS), and site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) were chosen as mitigation techniques. Data were collected using field surveys and structured questionnaires at the same 156 farms, covering four crop years. The GHG emissions were evaluated based on the concept of the life cycle assessment of the GHG emissions of products. The farmers’ assessments of mitigation techniques, with multiple criteria evaluation, were obtained by face-to-face interviews. Opinions on all mitigation techniques were requested two times covering four years with the same 156 farm owners. The multinomial logistic regression model was used to examine the factors influencing the farmers’ decisions. The results show that SSNM was evaluated as the highest abatement potential (363.52 kgCO2eq ha−1), the negative value of abatement cost (−2565 THB ha−1), and the negative value of the average abatement cost (−14 THB kgCO2eq−1). Among the different techniques, SSNM was perceived as the most suitable one, followed by MD and AS. Highly significant factors influencing decision making consisted of planted area, land size, farmer liability, farmer perception of yield, and GHG emissions. Subsidies or cost-sharing measures to convince farmers to adopt new techniques can enhance their practices, and more support for the development of water systems can increase their availability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Geographic Information and Communication Technologies for Supporting Smallholder Agriculture and Climate Resilience
Climate 2018, 6(4), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6040097
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 10 December 2018
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Abstract
Multiple factors constrain smallholder agriculture and farmers’ adaptive capacities under changing climates, including access to information to support context appropriate farm decision-making. Current approaches to geographic information dissemination to smallholders, such as the rural extension model, are limited, yet advancements in internet and [...] Read more.
Multiple factors constrain smallholder agriculture and farmers’ adaptive capacities under changing climates, including access to information to support context appropriate farm decision-making. Current approaches to geographic information dissemination to smallholders, such as the rural extension model, are limited, yet advancements in internet and communication technologies (ICTs) could help augment these processes through the provision of agricultural geographic information (AGI) directly to farmers. We analysed recent ICT initiatives for communicating climate and agriculture-related information to smallholders for improved livelihoods and climate change adaptation. Through the critical analysis of initiatives, we identified opportunities for the success of future AGI developments. We systematically examined 27 AGI initiatives reported in academic and grey literature (e.g., organisational databases). Important factors identified for the success of initiatives include affordability, language(s), community partnerships, user collaboration, high quality and locally-relevant information through low-tech platforms, organisational trust, clear business models, and adaptability. We propose initiatives should be better-targeted to deliver AGI to regions in most need of climate adaptation assistance, including SE Asia, the Pacific, and the Caribbean. Further assessment of the most effective technological approaches is needed. Initiatives should be independently assessed for evaluation of their uptake and success, and local communities should be better-incorporated into the development of AGI initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation)
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Other

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Open AccessPerspective
Climate-Smart Agriculture and Non-Agricultural Livelihood Transformation
Climate 2019, 7(4), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli7040048
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 27 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
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Abstract
Agricultural researchers have developed a number of agricultural technologies and practices, known collectively as climate-smart agriculture (CSA), as part of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. Development practitioners invest in scaling these to have a wider impact. We use the example of the [...] Read more.
Agricultural researchers have developed a number of agricultural technologies and practices, known collectively as climate-smart agriculture (CSA), as part of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. Development practitioners invest in scaling these to have a wider impact. We use the example of the Western Highlands in Guatemala to illustrate how a focus on the number of farmers adopting CSA can foster a tendency to homogenize farmers, instead of recognizing differentiation within farming populations. Poverty is endemic in the Western Highlands, and inequitable land distribution means that farmers have, on average, access to 0.06 ha per person. For many farmers, agriculture per se does not represent a pathway out of poverty, and they are increasingly reliant on non-agricultural income sources. Ineffective targeting of CSA, hence, ignores small-scale farming households’ different capacities for livelihood transformation, which are linked to the opportunities and constraints afforded by different livelihood pathways, agricultural and non-agricultural. Climate-smart interventions will often require a broader and more radical agenda that includes supporting farm households’ ability to build non-agricultural-based livelihoods. Climate risk management options that include livelihood transformation of both agricultural and non-agricultural livelihoods will require concerted cross-disciplinary research and development that encompasses a broader set of disciplines than has tended to be the case to date within the context of CSA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation)
Open AccessFeature PaperPerspective
New Breeding Techniques for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Mitigation: Plants May Express Nitrous Oxide Reductase
Climate 2018, 6(4), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6040080
Received: 4 August 2018 / Revised: 24 September 2018 / Accepted: 25 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
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Abstract
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG). Although it comprises only 0.03% of total GHGs produced, N2O makes a marked contribution to global warming. Much of the N2O in the atmosphere issues from incomplete bacterial [...] Read more.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG). Although it comprises only 0.03% of total GHGs produced, N2O makes a marked contribution to global warming. Much of the N2O in the atmosphere issues from incomplete bacterial denitrification processes acting on high levels of nitrogen (N) in the soil due to fertilizer usage. Using less fertilizer is the obvious solution for denitrification mitigation, but there is a significant drawback (especially where not enough N is available for the crop via N deposition, irrigation water, mineral soil N, or mineralization of organic matter): some crops require high-N fertilizer to produce the yields necessary to help feed the world’s increasing population. Alternatives for denitrification have considerable caveats. The long-standing promise of genetic modification for N fixation may be expanded now to enhance dissimilatory denitrification via genetic engineering. Biotechnology may solve what is thought to be a pivotal environmental challenge of the 21st century, reducing GHGs. Current approaches towards N2O mitigation are examined here, revealing an innovative solution for producing staple crops that can ‘crack’ N2O. The transfer of the bacterial nitrous oxide reductase gene (nosZ) into plants may herald the development of plants that express the nitrous oxide reductase enzyme (N2OR). This tactic would parallel the precedents of using the molecular toolkit innately offered by the soil microflora to reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture for Climate Change Adaptation)
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