Research Handbooks in Environmental Law series
Edited by Jonathan Verschuuren
Chapter 8: Climate change adaptation and agricultural and forestry law
Every person needs sufficient food, clothing, shelter, and some form of heating and cooking fuel to live a decent, dignified life. Indeed, under several sources of international law, even if currently unenforced, every- one has (or should have) a human right to those basic life support goods and services. With the global population expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, and expected increases in per capita food consumption due to rising affluence and changing food preferences, the United Nations (UN) estimates that agricultural production must increase by 50 to 70 percent by 2050 to meet demand. A growing population will also generate increased demand for energy, fiber and other materials. Moreover, about a fifth of the world’s population, and up to 65 percent in developing countries, rely directly on agriculture and forestry as their source of livelihood. As a result, there is a pressing need for individual nations and the global community to design and implement strategies to adapt to the potentially significant impacts of climate change on agriculture and forestry. This chapter will first summarize the most significant predicted impacts of climate change on agriculture and forestry, characterize the nature and extent of the uncertainty surrounding those predictions, and summarize some of the major changes in farming, ranching and forestry technologies and other practices needed to address those impacts. It will then analyze the challenges inherent in supporting and facilitating those practice changes, and describe legal and institutional adaptation strategies that might help to address those challenges.
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