Special Issue "Agriculture and Climate Change"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Christopher R. Bryant

Département de géographie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: agricultural adaptation to climate change and variability; peri-urban agriculture; food security; food sovereignty; community development; land use planning; strategic planning by and for the citizens in a community; sustainable development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agriculture constitutes one of the most important sectors of the economies of most countries. Climate change and variability has already had major impacts on agricultural production and potential, sometimes making production more difficult and sometimes creating new opportunities for food production. In all cases, agriculture needs to adapt to these changing circumstances. Adaptation is a social and cultural process so it is important to ascertain how farmers adapt, what factors farmers take into account and what other actors can contribute to the adaptation process (e.g., government, agencies, neighbouring farmers, farmers in other regions, etc.). It also implies that different countries and territories with different cultures are likely to have agricultural communities where priorities and values are different, with major implications for the choice of adaptation strategies. The same can be said for strategies that can impact on the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Communities also have roles to play in agricultural adaptation since climate change and variability (in relation to agriculture) can be integrated into development planning processes where these processes exist. This Special Issue of Environments welcomes articles on any of these issues from any country and territory.

Prof. Dr. Christopher Bryant
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Impacts of climate change on agriculture and food production
  • Agricultural adaptation to climate change
  • Role of agriculture in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions
  • Impacts of climate change on the valued functions of farmland and farm activities
  • Roles of different actors in adaptation processes of agriculture to climate change

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Resource Use Efficiency as a Climate Smart Approach: Case of Smallholder Maize Farmers in Nyando, Kenya
Environments 2018, 5(8), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5080093
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 6 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
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Abstract
To simultaneously enhance agricultural productivity and lower negative impacts on the environment, food systems need to be much more efficient in using resources such as land, water, and fertilizer. This study examines resource use efficiency of maize production among smallholder farmers in Nyando,
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To simultaneously enhance agricultural productivity and lower negative impacts on the environment, food systems need to be much more efficient in using resources such as land, water, and fertilizer. This study examines resource use efficiency of maize production among smallholder farmers in Nyando, Kenya. The main objective is to assess the degree of technical efficiency of smallholder farmers and identify the impact of so-called “climate smart practices” on technical efficiency. The method of Stochastic Frontier Analysis is used to simultaneously estimate a stochastic production frontier and a technical inefficiency effect model. Data for 324 subplots farmed by 170 households were available for this analysis. The study reveals that maize production in Nyando is associated with mean technical efficiency of 45% and that soil conservation practices such as residue management, legume intercropping, and improved varieties significantly increase farmers’ technical efficiency. Soil carbon is found to be a critical factor of production. These results imply that there is potential to more than double production using the same resources and that soil conservation practices can be very “climate smart,” at once increasing soil carbon, production, climate resilience, and technical efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle U.S. Inland Pacific Northwest Wheat Farmers’ Perceived Risks: Motivating Intentions to Adapt to Climate Change?
Environments 2018, 5(4), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5040049
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 14 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
The Regional Approaches to Climate Change for the Pacific Northwest Agriculture (REACCH PNA) project was a USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funded effort aimed at taking a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to understanding the implications of climate change on wheat and
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The Regional Approaches to Climate Change for the Pacific Northwest Agriculture (REACCH PNA) project was a USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funded effort aimed at taking a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to understanding the implications of climate change on wheat and other cereal crop production in the inland Pacific Northwest (iPNW). As part of this project, two comprehensive surveys of wheat producers were conducted in 2012/13 and 2015/16, which included questions concerning production practices, risk perception, and attitudes towards climate change adaptation and mitigation. This paper explores farmers’ anticipated adaptive responses to climate change across five different adaptation strategies, including, cropping system, crop rotation, tillage practices, soil conservation practices, and crop insurance. This research examines whether farmers anticipate making little to no change or moderate to big changes to their production system in response to climate change and whether perceived economic and environmental risks motivate farmers’ intentions to adapt to climate change. I found that a small percentage (18–28%) of respondents intend on taking moderate to big action in response to predicted climate change, across both surveys and all five adaptation strategies. Further, high levels of perceived economic and environmental risks, associated with climate change and positive attitudes towards adaptation, are motivating intentions to adapt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Adapting to Climate Change: Lessons from Farmers and Peri-Urban Fringe Residents in South Australia
Environments 2018, 5(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030040
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper reports on results from two major research projects conducted in South Australia. The first investigates adaptation to climate change in two of the state’s major grain and sheep farming regions, using semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The second uses a postal
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This paper reports on results from two major research projects conducted in South Australia. The first investigates adaptation to climate change in two of the state’s major grain and sheep farming regions, using semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The second uses a postal questionnaire and an internet-based survey of residents in the peri-urban fringes of Adelaide, the state capital, to examine knowledge of and attitudes to climate change and resulting adaptations, especially in the context of increasing risk of wildfires. The research on adaptation to climate change in agriculture focused on formal institutions (e.g., government agencies) and communities of practice (e.g., farm systems groups). Both groups noted that farmers autonomously adapt to various risks, including those induced by climate variability. The types and levels of adaptation varied among individuals partly because of barriers to adaptation, which included limited communication and engagement processes established between formal institutions and communities of practice. The paper discusses possibilities for more effective transfers of knowledge and information on climate change among formal institutions, communities of practice, trusted individual advisors and farmers. Research in the peri-urban fringe revealed that actions taken by individuals to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change were linked to the nature of environmental values held (or ecological worldview) and place attachment. Individuals with a strong place attachment to the study area (the Adelaide Hills) who possessed knowledge of and/or beliefs in climate change were most likely to take mitigating actions. This was also linked to previous experience of major risk from wildfires. The paper concludes by discussing prospects for developing co-management for reducing the impact of climate change across multiple groups in rural and peri-urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Gardening the City: Addressing Sustainability and Adapting to Global Warming through Urban Agriculture
Environments 2018, 5(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5030038
Received: 21 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract
This article envisions urban agriculture as a solution to address global warming by decreasing the urban heat island effect while also addressing many other urban sustainability issues, such as multi-functionality, creating new commons, amenities and ecosystem services, reinventing urbanity, encouraging community building by
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This article envisions urban agriculture as a solution to address global warming by decreasing the urban heat island effect while also addressing many other urban sustainability issues, such as multi-functionality, creating new commons, amenities and ecosystem services, reinventing urbanity, encouraging community building by growing local food, and enhanced water management. This article examines how urban design and planning can promote this solution to reconfigure more sustainable and resilient cities. A crucial aspect is that urban planning should evolve from its traditional prescriptive form to adaptive planning. An important point in adaptive planning is that anybody concerned should be associated with the decision-making process, which requires the involvement of citizens in the decisions that affect them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Farmers’ Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change and Their Implications in the Zou Department of South Benin
Environments 2018, 5(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5010015
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 21 January 2018
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Abstract
Climate change is a global phenomenon. Its impact on agricultural activities in developing countries has increased dramatically. Understanding how farmers perceive climate change and how they adapt to it is very important to the implementation of adequate policies for agricultural and food security.
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Climate change is a global phenomenon. Its impact on agricultural activities in developing countries has increased dramatically. Understanding how farmers perceive climate change and how they adapt to it is very important to the implementation of adequate policies for agricultural and food security. This paper aims to contribute to an understanding of farmers’ adaptation choices, determinants of the adaptation choices and the long-term implications of the adaptation choices. Data were collected from 120 respondents in the Zou Department of Benin. A binary logit model was used to analyze the factors influencing household decisions to adapt to climate change. Multinomial logistic regression analysis was estimated to analyze the factors influencing households’ choice of adaptation strategies to climate change. The results show that farmers have a developed perception of climate change. These changes are translated by rainfall disturbances (rainfall delays, early cessation, bad rainfall distribution etc.), shortening of the small dry season, increasing of temperature and sometimes, violent winds. The survey reveals that Benin farmers adopt many strategies in response to climate change. These strategies include “Crop–livestock diversification and other good practices (mulching, organic fertilizer),” “Use of improved varieties, chemical fertilizers and pesticides,” “Agroforestry and perennial plantation” and “Diversification of income-generating activities.” The findings also reveal that most of the respondents use these strategies in combination. From the binary logit model, we know that “farming experience” and “educational level of household head” positively influence adaptation decisions. The result of the multinomial logit analysis shows that farming experience, educational level, farm size and gender have a significant impact on climate change adaptation strategies. Based on in-depth analysis of each strategy, we identify crop diversification and agroforestry as being the most promising strategies with benefits for farmers, the environment and future generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle An Exploratory Analysis of the Impact of Climate Change on Macedonian Agriculture
Received: 22 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 21 December 2017 / Published: 25 December 2017
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Abstract
Using a mixed input–output model, this study examines potential changes in sector output and water requirements in Macedonia arising from climate change. By defining three climate change scenarios and exogenously specifying the warming shocks for five key agricultural sub-sectors, the effects on the
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Using a mixed input–output model, this study examines potential changes in sector output and water requirements in Macedonia arising from climate change. By defining three climate change scenarios and exogenously specifying the warming shocks for five key agricultural sub-sectors, the effects on the economy were quantified. The results indicated that except for cereals and grapes, agricultural production would benefit from the low climate change scenario due to moderate changes in precipitation and temperature and longer cropping period, while there would be negligible effects on the rest of the economy. Contrary, the medium and high climate change scenarios would negatively affect agriculture due to increase in temperature and decline in precipitation, with severe losses in grape, apple and cereal production, but again with low effects on other economic sectors. As a result, water consumption by agriculture sector will increase by around 6% in the low climate change scenario, and decrease by around 8% and 16% in the medium and high climate change scenarios, respectively, relative to the current agriculture water consumption. Capital investment in irrigation equipment could mitigate the negative climate change impacts in the medium and high climate change scenarios. However, it would impose additional stresses on the existing limited water resource over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Drought Impact and Adaptation Strategies in the Mid-Hill Farming System of Western Nepal
Environments 2018, 5(9), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5090101
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 22 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
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Abstract
Climate-induced drought hazard has been emerging as one of the major challenges in the mid-hill farming system and rural livelihood in Nepal. Drought stress, in combination with century-long socio-political issues such as unequal social structure, gender discrimination, and marginalization of poor and disadvantaged
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Climate-induced drought hazard has been emerging as one of the major challenges in the mid-hill farming system and rural livelihood in Nepal. Drought stress, in combination with century-long socio-political issues such as unequal social structure, gender discrimination, and marginalization of poor and disadvantaged groups have made smallholders more vulnerable in society. Climate changes are exacerbating issues within an already vulnerable society. Therefore, a review study on the impact of drought on the rain-fed hill farming system, and the potential adaptation measures, was carried out in the mid-hill region of western Nepal. Both agricultural impacts such as depletion of traditional varieties of crops, crop-specific diseases, low production, lack of water for irrigation; and non-agricultural impacts such as changing rural livelihood patterns, and social conflict due to agriculture and water issues were identified as major impacts. Some of the agricultural adaptation measures viz. the promotion of climate smart agriculture practices, crop diversification, and agroforestry practices seem to have been more effective in the region. At the same time, small-scale structural water harvesting measures, for instance, rainwater harvesting, conservation ponds, and irrigation channels, drip water irrigation, and an early warning system for drought events could also be an advantage in this context. Nonetheless, there are several adaptation barriers including ecological and physical constraints, human and information resource-shortages, and social barriers to adaptation. Therefore, local site-specific adaptation measures should be developed, and implemented, to increase the adaptive capacity of smallholders, and enhance the farming system in the face of the climate-induced drought scenario. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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