, Volume 109, Issue 1 Supplement, pp 407-427
Date: 24 Nov 2011

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

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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.