Grain Production Trends in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan in the Context of the Global Climate Variability and Change

  • Elena Lioubimtseva
  • Kirsten M. de Beurs
  • Geoffrey M. Henebry
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 25)


Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan are the three major grain producers in Central Eurasia. In the context of the current food-price crisis, these countries might be presented with a window of opportunity to reemerge as the major grain exporters if they succeed in increasing their productivity. Global grain production is highly sensitive to a combination of internal and external factors, such as institutional changes, land-use changes, climate variability, water resources, and global economic trends. Agroecological scenarios driven by climate models suggest that land suitability in this region is likely to change in future, due to impacts of climate change, such as CO2 fertilization, changes in the growing season, temperature, precipitation, frequency, and timing of droughts and frosts. Grain production in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan grew steadily between 2002 and 2010 following a 10-year long depression caused by collapse of the USSR. However, in the summer of 2010 Russia and its neighbors experienced an unprecedented heat wave, accompanied by severe wild fires. As news of this disaster became known international grain prices increased dramatically. The future of grain production in this region will be determined by the interplay of climatic variability and multiple non-climatic factors and is likely to have significant impact on both global and regional food security over the coming decades.


Climate change Drought Food security Globalization Heat wave Kazakhstan Land use Russia Ukraine Water resources 



This research was supported in part by the NASA LCLUC program as part of the Northern Eurasia Earth Science Partnership Initiative (NEESPI; through projects NNG06GC22G to G.M. Henebry, W.J. Capehart, and E. Lioubimtseva and NNX09AI29G to K.M. de Beurs, G. Ioffe, and G.M. Henebry. We would like to thank P. de Beurs for the application development that allowed us to calculate the Seasonal Kendall tests efficiently.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Lioubimtseva
    • 1
  • Kirsten M. de Beurs
    • 2
  • Geoffrey M. Henebry
    • 3
  1. 1.Geography and Planning DepartmentGrand Valley State UniversityAllendaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Environmental SustainabilityThe University of OklahomaNormanUSA
  3. 3.Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence (GIScCE)South Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA

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