Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2011
Publication Date: 6/8/2012
Citation: Liebig, M.A., A.J. Franzluebbers, and R.F. Follett. 2012. Agriculture and climate change: Mitigation opportunities and adaptation imperatives. In: Liebig, M.A., A.J. Franzluebbers, and R.F. Follett (Editors). Managing agricultural greenhouse gases: Coordinated agricultural research through GRACEnet to address our changing climate. Academic Press, San Diego, CA. p. 3-12.
Interpretive Summary: Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have increased significantly since the mid-1700s. The capacity of GHGs to trap outgoing long-wave radiation and emit it back to the earth’s surface as heat has contributed to global-scale climate change. Direct effects of climate change are significant and long-lasting, and are projected to affect agriculture through shifts in vegetation zones, increased potential for droughts and floods, elevated rates of soil erosion, and increased photosynthetic rates. Maintaining key agronomic and environmental functions in the future will require the application of a broad portfolio of management practices that mitigate GHG emissions and/or adapt to impacts from climate change. Agricultural strategies for mitigating agricultural GHG emissions include enhancing soil carbon sequestration, improving nitrogen-use efficiency, increasing ruminant digestion efficiency, capturing GHG emissions from manure and other wastes, and reducing fuel consumption. Though less developed, climate change adaptation strategies specific to agriculture include increasing crop diversity, implementing efficient irrigation methods, adopting integrated pest management, and improving soil management. Significant production, environmental, and economic co-benefits potentially exist through the successful application of mitigation and adaptation practices. Effectively communicating outcomes from such co-benefits is critical, and represents a major objective of ‘Managing Agricultural Greenhouse Gases: Coordinated Agricultural Research through GRACEnet to Address our Changing Climate’, a compilation of integrative syntheses resulting from a national, cross-location research effort coordinated by the USDA Agricultural Research Service.
Technical Abstract: Maintenance of critical agroecosystem functions will require proactive responses through the strategic application of management practices that mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and/or adapt to impacts from climate change. Numerous management strategies currently exist to mitigate GHG emissions from agriculture. While adaptation strategies are currently less developed, there exists a core of sound recommendations for responding to changes in long-term temperature and precipitation conditions, annual weather variation, and challenges associated with invasive pests and/or diseases. Significant production, environmental, and economic co-benefits potentially exist through the successful application of mitigation and adaptation practices. Effective communication will be essential to ensure appropriate application of science-based recommendations for mitigating and adapting to climate change. This volume – Managing Agricultural Greenhouse Gases: Coordinated Agricultural Research through GRACEnet to Address our Changing Climate – represents an effort to address this communication objective through the publication of integrative syntheses resulting from a national, cross-location research effort coordinated by the USDA Agricultural Research Service.