Adaptation to climate change has gained a prominent place next to mitigation on global, national and local policy agendas. However, while an abundance of adaptation strategies, plans and programmes have been developed, progress in turning these into action has been slow. The development of a sound knowledge basis to support adaptation globally is suggested to accelerate progress, but has lagged behind. The emphasis in both current and newly proposed programmes is very much on practice-oriented research with strong stakeholder participation.
This paper supports such practice-oriented research, but argues that this is insufficient to support adaptation policy and practice in a productive manner. We argue that there is not only a need for science for adaptation, but also a science of adaptation. The paper argues that participatory, practice-oriented research is indeed essential, but has to be complemented by and connected to more fundamental inquiry and concept development, which takes into account knowledge that has been developed in disciplinary sciences and on issues other than climate change adaptation. At the same time, the level and method of participation in science for adaptation should be determined on the basis of the specific project context and goals. More emphasis on science of adaptation can lead to improved understanding of the conditions for successful science for adaptation.
BACKGROUND: This study aimed to estimate the impact of climate change on the ranges of crop pest species in Europe. The organisms included in the study were species from the family Tortricidae (Cydia pomonella, Lobesia botrana) and the family Pyralidae (Ostrinianubilalis), Chrysomelidaebeetles (Leptinotarsadecemlineata, Oulemamelanopus) andspeciesfromthe family Aphididae (Ropalosiphum padi, Sitobion avenae). Climate conditions in the year 2055 were simulated using a subset of five representative global circulation models Model simulations using these climate change scenarios showed significant shifts in the climatic niches of the species in this study.
RESULTS: For Central Europe, the models predicted a shift in the ranges of pest species to higher altitudes and increases in the number of generations (NG) of the pests In contrast, in the southern regions of Europe, the NG is likely to decrease owing to insufficient humidity The ranges of species are likely to shift to the north.
CONCLUSION: Based on the ensemble-scenario mean for 2055, a climate-driven northward shift of between 3◦ N(O nubilalis) and 11◦ N(L botrana) is expected. The areas that are most sensitive to experiencing a significant increase in climate suitability for future pest persistence were identified These areas include Central Europe, the higher altitudes of the Alps and Carpathians and areas above 55◦ N
Recent changes in the simulated potential crop yield and biomass production caused by changes in the temperature and global radiation patterns are examined, using the Crop Growth Monitoring System. The investigated crops are winter wheat, spring barley, maize, winter rapeseed, potato, sugar beet, pulses and sunflower. The period considered is 1976–2005. The research was executed at NUTS2 level. Maize and sugar beet were the crops least affected by changing temperature and global radiation patterns. For the other crops the simulated potential yield remained stable in the majority of regions, while decreasing trends in simulated potential yields prevailed in the remaining regions.
The changes appear in a geographical pattern. In Italy and southern central Europe, temperature and radiation change effects are more severe than elsewhere, in these areas potential crop yields of more than three crops significantly decreased. In the UK and some regions in northern Europe the yield potential of various crops increased. In a next step the national yield statistics were analyzed. For a large majority of the countries the yield increases of wheat, barley and to a lesser extent rapeseed are leveling off.
Several explanations could be given, however, as the simulated yield potential for these crops decreased in various regions, the changing temperature and radiation patterns may also contribute to the diminishing yield increases or to the stagnation. In more than 50% of the investigated countries the maize, potato and sugar beet yields continue to increase. This can be attributed to improving production techniques, new crop varieties, sometimes in combination with an improving climatic potential. In some regions in northern Europe, yields continue to increase.
Climate change impacts on potential and rainfed crop yields on the European continent were studied using output of three General Circulation Models and the Crop Growth Monitoring System in combination with a weather generator. Climate change impacts differ per crop type and per CO2emission scenario. Crops planted in autumn and winter (winter wheat) may benefit from the increasing CO2 concentration. Rainfall is sufficient and if the CO2 concentration increase is high, yields may increase up to 2090. If the CO2 increase is less, increasing temperatures result in declining or stagnating yields after 2050.
Crops planted in spring (potato, sugar beet) initially benefit from the CO2 increase, however as time progresses the increasing temperatures reduce these positive effects. By the end of the century yields decline in southern Europe and production may only be possible if enough irrigation water is available. In northern Europe depending on the temperature and CO2 concentration increase, yields either stagnate or decline. However in some of the cooler regions yield increase is still possible. Crops planted in late spring and summer (maize) may suffer from droughts and high temperature in summer. By the end of the century, depending on the temperature rise, crop yields decline almost everywhere. If the temperature increase is less only in north western Europe yields remain stable.
As climate changes, the effects of forest diseases on forest ecosystems will change. We review knowledge of relationships between climate variables and several forest diseases, as well as current evidence of how climate, host and pathogen interactions are responding or might respond to climate change. Many forests can be managed to both adapt to climate change and minimize the undesirable effects of expected increases in tree mortality.
We discuss four types of forest and disease management tactics - monitoring, forecasting, planning and mitigation - and provide case studies of yellow-cedar decline and sudden aspen decline to illustrate how forest diseases might be managed in the face of climate change. The uncertainties inherent to climate change effects can be diminished by conducting research, assessing risks, and linking results to forest policy, planning and decision making.
The impacts of agricultural land use are far-reaching and extend to areas outside production. This paper provides an overview of the ecological status of agricultural systems across the European Union in the light of recent policy changes. It builds on the previous review of 2001 devoted to the impacts of agricultural intensification in Western Europe. The focus countries are the UK, The Netherlands, Boreal and Baltic countries, Portugal, Hungary and Romania, representing a geographical spread across Europe, but additional reference is made to other countries.
Despite many adjustments to agricultural policy, intensification of production in some regions and concurrent abandonment in others remain the major threat to the ecology of agro-ecosystems impairing the state of soil, water and air and reducing biological diversity in agricultural landscapes. The impacts also extend to surrounding terrestrial and aquatic systems through water and aerial contamination and development of agricultural infrastructures (e.g. dams and irrigation channels). Improvements are also documented regionally, such as successful support of farmland species, and improved condition of watercourses and landscapes.
This was attributed to agricultural policy targeted at the environment, improved environmental legislation, and new market opportunities. Research into ecosystem services associated with agriculture may provide further pressure to develop policy that is targeted at their continuous provisioning, fostering motivation of land managers to continue to protect and enhance them.
A combined assessment of the potential impacts from climate change (CC) and socio-economic development (SED) on water resources is presented for the most important aquifer in the south of Portugal. The goal is to understand how CC and SED affect the currently large pressures from water consuming and contaminating activities, predominantly agriculture. Short-term (2020–2050) and long-term (2070–2100) CC scenarios were developed and used to build aquifer recharge and crop water demand scenarios, using different methods to account for uncertainty. SED scenarios were developed using bottom-up and top-down methods, and discussed at workshops with farmers and institutional stakeholders in the water sector. Groundwater use was quantified for each scenario. Together with the recharge scenarios, these were run through a calibrated groundwater flow model, to study their individual and joint impacts on groundwater levels and discharge rates into a coastal estuary.
Recharge scenarios show clear negative long-term trends and short-term increase in temporal variability of recharge, though short-term model uncertainties are higher. SED scenario 1 (SED1), predicting intensification and decline of small farms, considered the most likely by all workshop participants, shows a large drop in agricultural area and water demand. SED2, a most desired scenario by farmers, foresees growth and modernization of agriculture, but proves unsustainable in combination with predicted CC without efficient adaptation measures. The results thus reveal that CC in the region will dynamically interact with economic factors, and going one step beyond, CC could be directly integrated as a constraint in the development of SED scenarios.
Exercises involving the integration of CC and SED regionally based scenarios, constructed in both bottom-up and top- down fashion and discussed in participatory contexts are still rarely used for adaptation, and specifically adaptation of agriculture to water scarcity. The joint analysis of CC and SED revealed challenging, as it involved the use of different methods across the border between natural and social sciences. In our view this method contributes in an encouraging manner to a more holistic and transdisciplinary water management, by allowing a more plausible identification of what (and if) adaptation measures are needed.
A comparative study on climate change and its impacts on coastal aquifers is performed for three Mediterranean areas. Common climate scenarios are developed for these areas using the ENSEMBLES projections that consider the A1b scenario. Temperature and precipitation data of three climate models are bias corrected with two different methods for a historic reference period, after which scenarios are created for 2020–2050 and 2069–2099 and used to calculate aquifer recharge for these periods based on two soil water budget methods. These multiple combinations of models and methods allow incorporating a level of uncertainty into the results.
Groundwater flow models are developed for the three sites and then used to integrate future scenarios for three different parameters: (1) recharge, (2) crop water demand, and (3) sea level rise. Short-term predictions are marked by large ranges of predicted changes in recharge, only showing a consistent decrease at the Spanish site (mean 23 %), particularly due to a reduction in autumn rainfall. The latter is also expected to occur at the Portuguese site, resulting in a longer dry period. More frequent droughts are predicted at the Portuguese and Moroccan sites, but cannot be proven for the Spanish site.
Toward the end of the century, results indicate a significant decrease (mean [25 %) in recharge in all areas, though most pronounced at the Portuguese site in absolute terms (mean 134 mm/year) and the Moroccan site in relative terms (mean 47 %). The models further predict a steady increase in crop water demand, causing 15–20 % additional evapotranspiration until 2100. Scenario modeling of groundwater flow shows its response to the predicted decreases in recharge and increases in pumping rates, with strongly reduced outflow into the coastal wetlands, whereas changes due to sea level rise are negligible.
Major issues regarding the efficiency of monitoring programs for nitrate contaminated groundwater are analyzed in this paper: (i) representativeness of monitoring networks; (ii) correct interpretation of the monitoring data and resulting time series and trends; and (iii) differentiation among the different sources of nitrates in groundwater. Following an overview of the nitrate contamination problem and possible solutions, as well as some of the difficulties found, a relatively straightforward method for assessing monitoring network representativity is presented, namely interpolation standard error assessment. It is shown how nitrate-concentration time series resulting from periodic observations can be corrected with a conservative tracer, in order to avoid misinterpretation and confirm or correct apparent trends.
Finally, coupled ¹⁵N and ¹⁸O isotope signatures of nitrate (NO₃⁻) in groundwater are used to differentiate among nitrogen (N) sources, to ensure correct targeting of restoration measures. The case study regards a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone in the south of Portugal, designated in compliance with the European Nitrates Directive, where coastal discharge of nutrient-rich groundwater threatens the good qualitative and ecological status of the Ria Formosa coastal lagoon. Results show that mineral fertilizer is the main source of N in groundwater, and that increases in N load can be masked by dilution phenomena.
Mega-fires are often defined according to their size and intensity but are more accurately described by their socio- economic impacts. Three factors – climate change, fire exclusion, and antecedent disturbance, collectively referred to as the “mega-fire triangle” – likely contribute to today’s mega-fires. Some characteristics of mega-fires may emu- late historical fire regimes and can therefore sustain healthy fire-prone ecosystems, but other attributes decrease ecosystem resiliency.
A good example of a program that seeks to mitigate mega-fires is located in Western Australia, where prescribed burning reduces wildfire intensity while conserving ecosystems. Crown-fire-adapted ecosystems are likely at higher risk of frequent mega-fires as a result of climate change, as compared with other ecosystems once subject to frequent less severe fires. Fire and forest managers should recognize that mega-fires will be a part of future wildland fire regimes and should develop strategies to reduce their undesired impacts.