Impacts and Responses
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Matthias Ruth, Kieran Donaghy and Paul Kirshen
Chapter 5: Ecological and Economic Impacts of Climate Change in Agricultural Systems: An Integrated Assessment Approach
J. Antle, S. Capalbo and K. Paustian INTRODUCTION The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Third Assessment Report concludes that, ‘greater emphasis on the development of methods for assessing vulnerability is required, especially at the national and sub-national scales where impacts of climate change are felt and responses are implemented. Methods designed to include adaptation and adaptive capacity explicitly in specific applications must be developed’ (IPCC 2001, p. 22). In this chapter we present an approach to assess ecological and economic impacts of climate change on agriculture, taking into account two critical factors that affect agriculture’s vulnerability: the degree of adaptation by farmers; and spatial heterogeneity in biophysical and economic conditions that affect the ability to adapt. Our approach is based on the use of site-specific data coupled with spatially explicit ecosystem and economic models to simulate farmers’ land use and management decisions in response to climate change. With this statistically representative sample of data, the models can be simulated to represent the impacts of climate change on the population of economic decision units, and results can be used to quantify the impacts on the population and can be statistically aggregated for policy analysis. We demonstrate this approach in an analysis of climate change impacts in the dryland, grain-producing region of Montana. The coupled ecosystem and economic models are used to simulate the effects of climate change and CO2 fertilization on a key indicator of agricultural sustainability, the stock of carbon in agricultural soils. The analysis shows that adaptation has...
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