Diversity buffers winegrowing regions from climate change losses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Agrobiodiversity—the variation within agricultural plants, animals, and practices—is often suggested as a way to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on crops [S. A. Wood et al., Trends Ecol. Evol. 30, 531–539 (2015)]. Recently, increasing research and attention has focused on exploiting the intraspecific genetic variation within a crop [Hajjar et al., Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 123, 261–270 (2008)], despite few relevant tests of how this diversity modifies agricultural forecasts. Here, we quantify how intraspecific diversity, via cultivars, changes global projections of growing areas. We focus on a crop that spans diverse climates, has the necessary records, and is clearly impacted by climate change: winegrapes (predominantly Vitis vinifera subspecies vinifera). We draw on long-term French records to extrapolate globally for 11 cultivars (varieties) with high diversity in a key trait for climate change adaptation—phenology. We compared scenarios where growers shift to more climatically suitable cultivars as the climate warms or do not change cultivars. We find that cultivar diversity more than halved projected losses of current winegrowing areas under a 2 C warming scenario, decreasing areas lost from 56 to 24%. These benefits are more muted at higher warming scenarios, reducing areas lost by a third at 4 C (85% versus 58%). Our results support the potential of in situ shifting of cultivars to adapt agriculture to climate change—including in major winegrowing regions—as long as efforts to avoid higher warming scenarios are successful.


  • Ignacio Morales-Castilla
  • Iñaki García de Cortázar-Atauri
  • Benjamin I. Cook
  • Thierry Lacombe
  • Amber Parker
  • Cornelis van Leeuwen
  • Kimberly A. Nicholas
  • Elizabeth M. Wolkovich
External organisations
  • University of Alcalá
  • Harvard University
  • NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
  • Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • University of Montpellier
  • Lincoln University, New Zealand
  • University of Bordeaux
  • University of British Columbia
  • INRA National Institute of Agricultural Research
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Climate Research
  • Ecology


  • Agriculture, Agrobiodiversity, Climate change adaptation, Phenology, Resilience
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2864-2869
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 11
Publication categoryResearch