2015, DOI: 10.1111/pce.12592
Climate-smart agriculture and forestry: maintaining plant productivity in a changing world while minimizing production system effects on climate
Danielle A. Way and Stephen P. Long
Global climatic and atmospheric change represents a major threat to the productive capacity of our crop and forest production systems. Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations cause warming and altered precipitation regimes, which will lead to more extreme weather events, including heat waves and droughts (International Panel on Climate Change 2014). At the same time, increasing surface ozone concentrations directly impact plant production, decreasing yield. Changes in climate have already impacted yields in key crop species, lowering them in some regions (Ray et al. 2012; International Panel on Climate Change 2014), and will continue to impact our crop and forest production systems in the coming decades, a period when we not only need to maintain current levels of food and wood production, but also increase productivity to feed and supply the world’s growing population. To meet these needs, we must adapt our practices to identify and create heat-, drought- and ozone-tolerant varieties for use in agriculture and forestry, while developing cultivars that are more responsive to the increases that have and will occur in atmospheric [CO2]. A key priority will also be to select the cultivars that will be most productive in the warmer, drier, high CO2 climate of the future and to search for ways to maximize plant productivity on marginal lands that are currently too saline or dry for the production of food, woody biomass and other bioproducts.