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Will climate change benefit or hurt Russian grain production? A statistical evidence from a panel approach


Using recent advances in statistical crop yield modelling and a unique dataset consisting of yield time series for Russian regions over the period from 1955 to 2012, the study investigates the potential impact of climate change (CC) on the productivity of the three most important grains. Holding current grain growing areas fixed, the aggregate productivity of the three grains is predicted to decrease by 6.7% in 2046–2065 and increase by 2.6% in 2081–2100 compared to 1971–2000 under the most optimistic representative emission concentration pathway (RCP). Based on the projections for the three other RCPs, the aggregate productivity of the three studied crops is assessed to decrease by 18.0, 7.9 and 26.0% in the medium term and by 31.2, 25.9 and 55.4% by the end of the century. Our results indicate that CC might have a positive effect on winter wheat, spring wheat and spring barley productivity in a number of regions in the Northern and Siberian parts of Russia. However, due to the highly damaging CC impact on grain production in the most productive regions located in the South of the country, the overall impact tends to be negative. Therefore, a shift of agricultural production to the Northern regions of the country could reduce the negative impact of CC on grain production only to a limited extent. More vigorous adaptation measures are required to maintain current grain production volumes in Russia under CC.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Economic regions represent federal subjects, grouped according to certain common characteristics, such as geographic location, availability of natural resources and similar climate conditions, and level of development.

  2. Oblast and krai are territorial units that can correspond to province, just as autonomous republic, but with a lower level of independence from the federal government. For simplicity, in the text, we use the term oblast for all three different types of federal subjects and refer to economic regions as regions.

  3. For a graphical description of Russian territorial division, see Fig. S1 in Online Supplementary Material.

  4. See Online Supplement Material for the descriptive statistics

  5. Please see Online Supporting Material for a description of RCP scenarios used in this study.

  6. Please see Online Supporting Material for a descriptive statistics for the baseline and projected periods for each of the pathways.


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The authors would like to thank Ariel Ortiz-Bobea and Pierre Merel for their valuable input and comments on an earlier version of the paper. They are also very much grateful to Yuri I. Kopenkin and Nikolai Svetlov for enabling access to statistics used in the study. The final version of the paper has benefited from insightful questions and helpful suggestions of Armen R. Kemanian and two anonymous reviewers.

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Correspondence to Maria Belyaeva.

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Belyaeva, M., Bokusheva, R. Will climate change benefit or hurt Russian grain production? A statistical evidence from a panel approach. Climatic Change 149, 205–217 (2018).

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