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Climate change-forced shifts in distribution of European marginal agricultural land until 2050 and its implications for food crop cultivation

Authors:

Abstract

Background / Issues: Food security high on the agenda of SGDs Agricultural land suitable for food crop cultivation limited and rather decreasing (land degradation through wind- and water erosion, sea level rise) Land use conflicts increasing Climate change-forced shifts in marginal agricultural land may also become crucial for achieving & maintaining food security Research question What are potential implications of marginal agricultural land shifts on food crop cultivation in Europe and what are options for mitigation? Results: - Increases in average air temperature and growth degree days across Europe lead to an increase of marginal agricultural land in the Mediterranean region and a decrease in northern regions - Changes in precipitation patterns may lead to increased probability of drought events in central Europe in spring and wetness conditions in autumn Discussion & Conclusions: - Food crop cultivation expected to become more challenging through climate change-forced marginal land shifts in many European regions, especially in the Mediterranean and central Europe - Winter-annual C3 crops more promising than summer annuals in central Europe in the future due to crucial shifts of precipitation patterns - C4 summer annual food crops like maize (Zea mays L.) becoming more interesting for northern regions, depending on the required vegetation period length and the type of use such as feed and biogas substrate - CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) crops which are partially edible such as prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica L. Mill.) expected to become more important for food crop cultivation in the Mediterranean Funding: This research received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 727698
Von Cossel, M. a, Von Cossel, V. b, Elbersen, B. c, Staritsky, I. c, Van Eupen, M. c, Mantel, S. d, Warrach-Sagi, K. b,
Wulfmeyer, V. b, Lewandowski, I. a
aUniversity of Hohenheim, Institute of Crop Science, Department of Biobased Resources in the Bioeconomy (340b), bUniversity of Hohenheim,
Institute of Physics and Meteorology, cWageningen University & Research, Earth Informatics, dInternational Soil Reference and Information Centre
Climate change-forced shifts in distribution of European
marginal agricultural land until 2050
and its implications for food crop cultivation
Background / Issues
Food security high on the agenda of SGDs
Agricultural land suitable for food crop cultivation
limited and rather decreasing (land degradation
through wind- and water erosion, sea level rise)
Land use conflicts increasing
Climate change-forced shifts in marginal
agricultural land may also become crucial for
achieving & maintaining food security
Research question
What are potential implications of marginal agricultural land shifts on
food crop cultivation in Europe and what are options for mitigation?
Results
Increases in average air temperature and growth degree days across
Europe lead to an increase of marginal agricultural land in the
Mediterranean region and a decrease in northern regions
Changes in precipitation patterns may lead to increased probability of
drought events in central Europe in spring and wetness conditions in
autumn
Discussion & Conclusions
Food crop cultivation expected to become more challenging through
climate change-forced marginal land shifts in many European regions,
especially in the Mediterranean and central Europe
Winter-annual C3 crops more promising than summer annuals in central
Europe in the future due to crucial shifts of precipitation patterns
C4 summer annual food crops like maize (Zea mays L.) becoming more
interesting for northern regions, depending on the required vegetation
period length and the type of use such as feed and biogas substrate
CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) crops which are partially edible
such as prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica L. Mill.) expected to become
more important for food crop cultivation in the Mediterranean
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences / Institute of Crop Science / Biobased Resources in the Bioeconomy (340b)
This research received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020
research and innovation program under grant agreement No 727698
Marginal agricultural land
current situation
Marginal agricultural land
2050
Projected changes in precipitation during the seasons MarchMay (a) and September
November (b) until 2050 given a RCP8.5 scenario. Data based on EC-EARTHCCLM
output (Adapted from: Von Cossel et al., 2019b, https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9100605).
Shifts of marginal agricultural land in Europe until 2050. UAA
= utilized agricultural area; ANC = agricultural natural
constraint; Sub-severe ANC (+20%) = within the 20% margin
of the threshold value of severity (Adapted from: Elbersen et
al., 2018, https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3539311; Von
Cossel et al., 2019a, https://doi.org/10.3390/en12163123).
(a) (b)
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