It is estimated that the growing season has lengthened by nearly eleven days since the 1960’s. In Northern Europe leaves emerge six days earlier in the spring and they last five days longer in the autumn.
Other changes are plants growing at higher altitudes in the mountains, and birds lay eggs earlier in the spring.
Butterflies have extended their range northwards in Europe as well as in North America .
Migratory birds arriving in the spring may find that they arrive too late for their tradtitional access to food, since flowering in some cases may start weeks earlier than nature has adapted to for the last millennia.
Carbon dioxide has a fertilizing effect
Increased CO2 in the air has a fertilizing effect on many plant species.
With moderate temperatures, long-term doubling of current ambient CO2 under field-like conditions leads to a 30% enhancement in the seed yield of rice, despite a 5-10% decline in the number of days to heading.
The grain yield of CO2 -enriched rice shows about a 10% decline for each 1°C rise above 26°C. This decline is caused by a shortening of growth duration and increased spikelet sterility. Similar scenarios have been reported for soybean and wheat.” (IPCC WG 1 2007)
What happens with an increase in temperature of e.g. 2°C. ?
Increasing temperatures will likely affect major crops such as tea and coffee production in East Africa
Major impacts on food production will come from changes in temperature, moisture levels, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, CO2 levels, and temperatures may cause expansion of production into higher elevations.
The grain filling period may be reduced as higher temperatures accelerate development, but high temperatures may have detrimental effects on sensitive development stages such as flowering, reducing grain yield and quality.
Crop water balances may be affected through changes in precipitation and other climatic elements, increased evapotranspiration, and increased Water Use Efficiency (WUE) resulting from elevated CO2.
Plant water use efficiency (WUE) is a key issue in semiarid areas, where crop production relies on irrigation. To secure environmental sustainability and food production, a better WUE is necessary. Global warming will as a rule mean increases in temperature, longer periods of drought and the risk of violent floods in semiarid regions. An improved, integrated water resources management is urgently needed in many areas.
Staple crops such as wheat and corn that are associated with subtropical latitudes may suffer a drop in yield as a result of increased temperature, and rice may disappear because of higher temperatures in the tropics
It is suggested that major changes in farming systems can compensate for some yield decreases under climate change, but additional fertilizer, seed supplies, and irrigation will involve extra costs, and threaten smallscale and subsistence farming.
IPCC: Ecosystems and Their Goods and Services
Land degradation accelerates due to increasing pressures of agricultural and industrialised livestock production, urbanization, deforestation, and extreme weather events such as droughts and coastal surges which salinate land. Instead of increasing cropland areas and making them more resilient, we degrade and reduce these areas.
- EEA State of the environment report Europe 2015
- UNEP Ecosystems
- UNEP/GRID-Arendal: The Environmental Food Crisis
- Rice yields to fall under global warming (BBC)
- Nature (2017) Consistent negative response of US crops to high temperatures in observations and crop models
- Climate change ‘demands new diplomacy’: Escalating food and oil prices, coupled with the increasing number of natural disasters linked to climate change, “a today problem not a tomorrow problem”. UK Foreign office special advisor John Ashton)
- Third of Earth’s soil is acutely degraded due to agriculture
- Fighting desertification (TED lecture)
- Soil Science (BBC)
- The crisis in global land use
- Peak soil: industrial civilisation is on the verge of eating itself
- Riots, Towns Gone Dry, Soaring Prices: The Food-Pocalypse Is Already Upon Us (April 2014)
- How to boost food production in Africa
- More than 40 percent of China’s arable land degraded: Xinhua
- The Fight Against Desertification
- Food Security Climate Resilience (FoodSECuRE) Facility
- It’s Time to Put Carbon Back Into the Soil
- The Down-to-Earth Solution to Climate Change
- African Smallholders Can Double Their Yields With Half the Water
- CO2 and food: We can’t sacrifice quality for quantity
- The great nutrient collapse. The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention (Sept 2017)
- Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative (UNU)
- IPES – The International Panel on Sustainable Food Systems
- ‘From Uniformity to Diversity: A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems’ (IPES 206)
- How the World’s Most Fertile Soil Can Help Reverse Climate Change
- Industrial Agriculture- The outdated, unsustainable system that dominates U.S. food production.
- Feeding humanity in a warming world
- Amazon’s mysterious black earth earth: Soil found along region riverbanks; Rich in nutrients, stores more carbon
- We May All Have to Cut Carbs Thanks to Climate Change. Rising global temperatures will harm wheat harvests—and poor countries will be hardest hit.
- Carbon dioxide: Pollutant or plant food?
- Widespread Starvation Could Be a Reality Before the End of the Century
If CO2 emissions aren’t at zero by 2070, global warming could threaten the wild relatives of staple foods like wheat and rice
- Living in China’s expanding deserts (NYT, Oct 2016)
- Feng, Q. et al. (2015). What Has Caused Desertification in China?
- Luedi, J. (2016). China’s growing deserts a major political risk. Global Risk Insights,
- Tao, W. (2016). Desertification and Land Degradation in China. International Soil and Water Conservation Research
- Deaths of land rights defenders treble in a year as violence surges, says report (Dec 2016)
- Goodland and Anhang (2016) Livestock and Climate Change, Worldwatch inst
- How do we feed a growing world?
- Can Organic Farming Feed the World?
- Pesticides are killing bees and the U.S. government knows it (July 2016)
- Orphan crops can bring food security to millions of people (FAO, 2016)
- Regenerative Agriculture Will Feed the World and Cool the Planet
- To Truly Fight Poverty, Hunger and Climate Change, Sustainable Agriculture Must Go Global
- 2017: Agriculture Begins to Tackle Its Role in Climate Change
- Boosting women farmers would dramatically cut world hunger: experts (Reuters, 2017)
- Nature Is Speaking – Edward Norton is The Soil
- Africa: Humankind’s Ability to Feed Itself, Now in Jeopardy (Feb 2017)
- This Is the Future of Farming. This is what cutting-edge looks like: The ‘world’s first post-organic produce’ grows at this vertical farm
- Climate Change Making Kenya’s Droughts More Severe (March 2017)
- Soil management and land restoration vital to meeting climate change and sustainable development targets
- Climate Change Is Making This Bolivian Village a Ghost Town (Aug 2017)
|Chapter 3||3. Impacts|
|Chapter 4||4. Ecosystems|
|4.1 Ecosystems and energy flow|
|4.3 Agricultural land|
|Chapter 5||5. Green economy|