Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2013
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Most of earth’s carbon-based products, food, fiber, and some fuel, come from the terrestrial ecosystem. The earth’s thin mantel of soil is a major component of this ecosystem, which captures, stores, and releases water to vegetation, aquifers, streams, and lakes. It also provides a major portion of the world’s water supply. In the next fifty years, human population is projected to double, while economic buying power for carbon-based products could triple. In the absence of any unexplored frontiers, this increased demand will have to be met with the existing natural resource base. This is compounded by the uncertainty of future extremes in global environmental changes including floods, drought, and heat waves. Potentially it will involve changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, temperature, rainfall, and ultraviolet radiation intensity. Additionally, regional increases in soil erosion and atmospheric pollution may negatively impact crop productivity and the natural resources base of the planet. The limits of the existing scientific knowledge make it difficult to accurately forecast how global climate change will impact the crop behavior worldwide and compromise the terrestrial ecosystem. Another uncertainty is how policy decisions by independent government agencies to address such a changing resources base will impact agriculture in the future. In this paper, we will discuss the impact of Global Climate Change on agricultural production systems and outline opportunities, including the development of new technologies, for adaptation and mitigation strategies.