Article

Climatic Change

, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 407-427

Case study on potential agricultural responses to climate change in a California landscape

  • L. E. JacksonAffiliated withDepartment of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California Davis Email author 
  • , S. M. WheelerAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Design, University of California Davis
  • , A. D. HollanderAffiliated withInformation Center for the Environment, University of California Davis
  • , A. T. O’GeenAffiliated withDepartment of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California Davis
  • , B. S. OrloveAffiliated withDivision School of International and Public Affairs and Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Columbia University
  • , J. SixAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Sciences, University of California Davis
  • , D. A. SumnerAffiliated withAgricultural Issues Center, University of California Davis
  • , F. Santos-MartinAffiliated withDepartment of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California Davis
  • , J. B. KramerAffiliated withDepartment of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California Davis
    • , W. R. HorwathAffiliated withDepartment of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California Davis
    • , R. E. HowittAffiliated withDepartment of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California Davis
    • , T. P. TomichAffiliated withAgricultural Sustainability Institute, University of California Davis

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Abstract

Agriculture in the Central Valley of California, one of the USA’s main sources of fruits, nuts, and vegetables, is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts in the next 50 years. This interdisciplinary case study in Yolo County shows the urgency for building adaptation strategies to climate change. Climate change and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions are complex, and several of the county’s current crops will be less viable in 2050. The study uses a variety of methods to assemble information relevant to Yolo County’s agriculture, including literature reviews, models, geographic information system analysis, interviews with agency personnel, and a survey of farmers. Potential adaptation and mitigation responses by growers include changes in crop taxa, irrigation methods, fertilization practices, tillage practices, and land use. On a regional basis, planning must consider the vulnerability of agricultural production and the tradeoffs associated with diversified farmlands, drought, flooding of cropland, loss of habitat for wild species of concern, and urbanization.