Large potential for crop production adaptation depends on available future varieties

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Climate change affects global agricultural production and threatens food security. Faster phenological development of crops due to climate warming is one of the main drivers for potential future yield reductions. To counter the effect of faster maturity, adapted varieties would require more heat units to regain the previous growing period length. In this study, we investigate the effects of variety adaptation on global caloric production under four different future climate change scenarios for maize, rice, soybean, and wheat. Thereby, we empirically identify areas that could require new varieties and areas where variety adaptation could be achieved by shifting existing varieties into new regions. The study uses an ensemble of seven global gridded crop models and five CMIP6 climate models. We found that 39% (SSP5-8.5) of global cropland could require new crop varieties to avoid yield loss from climate change by the end of the century. At low levels of warming (SSP1-2.6), 85% of currently cultivated land can draw from existing varieties to shift within an agro-ecological zone for adaptation. The assumptions on available varieties for adaptation have major impacts on the effectiveness of variety adaptation, which could more than half in SSP5-8.5. The results highlight that region-specific breeding efforts are required to allow for a successful adaptation to climate change.

Details

Authors
  • Florian Zabel
  • Christoph Müller
  • Joshua Elliott
  • Sara Minoli
  • Jonas Jägermeyr
  • Julia M. Schneider
  • James A. Franke
  • Elisabeth Moyer
  • Marie Dury
  • Louis Francois
  • Christian Folberth
  • Wenfeng Liu
  • Thomas A.M. Pugh
  • Stefan Olin
  • Sam S. Rabin
  • Wolfram Mauser
  • Tobias Hank
  • Alex C. Ruane
  • Senthold Asseng
Organisations
External organisations
  • Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich
  • Leibniz Association
  • Center for Climate Systems Research
  • NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Liège
  • International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
  • China Agricultural University
  • University of Birmingham
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Technical University of Munich
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Keywords

  • AgMIP, breeding, climate change, climate scenarios, CMIP6, crop traits, cultivar adaptation, food security, GGCMI, variety adaptation
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes