Search

Food & Agriculture

Agriculture in some regions will likely benefit from better growing conditions under moderate climate change. However, agriculture production in many regions will likely be negatively affected by increases in heat, water stress, or weather extremes.


Expanded Range of Crop Pests

Many weeds, plant diseases, and insect pests benefit from warming (sometimes more than crops) and are therefore expected to expand their ranges as temperatures continue to rise. Weeds also benefit from elevated CO2 levels. Moreover, higher CO2 levels appear to make some herbicides less effective.

Adaptation
Apply integrated pest management practices to curb crop pest expansion. For example, develop pest-resistant crop varieties, use herbicides and pesticides, and maintain habitats for natural pest predators.

Locations
Global

 

Change in Crop Yield

Crops are adapted to specific climates.  When the climate warms too much, they come under stress from higher temperatures and/or increased drought, leading to shorter growing periods and lower yields.

Adaptation
Shift agriculture to different regions as the climate in those areas becomes more favorable for certain crops. Plant temperate crops earlier in the season.

Locations
Global

 

Decreased Catch Potential of Fisheries

With global average warming of 3.6°F (2°C), catch potential could decrease by up to 40% in the tropics, as commercial species shift away from the warming waters there. Many of the complexities of marine ecosystems that affect fisheries are not well understood.

Adaptation
Put practices into place to sustain fisheries in a changing climate. Use adaptive management principles in natural resource management plans to reduce ecosystem vulnerabilities. Encourage alternative vocations in traditional fishing communities.

Locations
Tropics

 

Reduced Crop Yields

Crop yields of U.S. corn, African corn, and Indian wheat are estimated to decrease by 5–15% for every 1.8°F (1°C) of global warming. U.S. corn crop losses are estimated to be roughly 25% for 3.6°F (2°C) of warming, all other things being equal.

Adaptation
Adjust sowing dates, change crop varieties, increase fertilization and irrigation, and develop new seeds that can better withstand water and heat stress and better utilize elevated CO2 levels.

Locations
Corn belt regions of the United States and Africa, wheat growing region of India

 

Increased Catch Potential of Fisheries

With global average warming of 3.6°F (2°C), catch potential could increase by 30–70% in high latitudes as commercial species shift away from the tropics due to ocean warming. Many of the complexities of marine ecosystems that affect fisheries are not well understood.

Adaptation
Put practices into place to sustain fisheries in a changing climate. Incorporate adaptive management principles in natural resource management plans to take advantage of fishery changes, while reducing ecosystem vulnerabilities.

Locations
High latitudes

Next: Impacts on Oceans