Summer fires frequently rage across Mediterranean Europe, often intensified by high temperatures and droughts. According to the state-of-the-art regional fire risk projections, in forthcoming decades climate effects are expected to become stronger and possibly overcome fire prevention efforts. However, significant uncertainties exist and the direct effect of climate change in regulating fuel moisture (e.g. warmer conditions increasing fuel dryness) could be counterbalanced by the indirect effects on fuel structure (e.g. warmer conditions limiting fuel amount), affecting the transition between climate-driven and fuel-limited fire regimes as temperatures increase.
Here we analyse and model the impact of coincident drought and antecedent wet conditions (proxy for the climatic factor influencing total fuel and fine fuel structure) on the summer Burned Area (BA) across all eco-regions in Mediterranean Europe. This approach allows BA to be linked to the key drivers of fire in the region. We show a statistically significant relationship between fire and same-summer droughts in most regions, while antecedent climate conditions play a relatively minor role, except in few specific eco-regions. The presented models for individual eco-regions provide insights on the impacts of climate variability on BA, and appear to be promising for developing a seasonal forecast system supporting fire management strategies.
Conservation agriculture (CA) in the last decades has been spread in several parts of the world, especially in South and North America and Australia. In Italy, however, its adoption is often restrained by the risk to have a reduction in crop production in the early years of transition from conventional (CT) to CA. To quantify sufficient financial support to promote no-tillage and CA, a mini-review about main effects of CA was conducted.
The effect on crop yield, soil fertility - especially as it is influenced by the chemical, physical and microbiological factors - on soil compaction, the economic balance of the farm and the cost of equipment for direct seeding, the influence of environment on soil erosion, water retention, emissions of greenhouse gases, and carbon sequestration are briefly treated. The paper reports findings from national and international scientific literature and some results from long-term experiments conducted in Southern Italy.
The main conclusions are about the reduction of yield in the first years of transition from CT to CA (from -5 to - 10%), an improvement of soil fertility (soil organic carbon increases in the upper layers), reduction of management cost (less machinery operations), improvement of soil C sequestration (in specific conditions), a reduction of greenhouse gases emission and soil erosion risk. The paper provides the scientific basis in order to justify and quantify the amount to be paid to the farmers who decide to adopt the model of CA, oriented to protect the agro-ecosystem and to promote the principle of subsidiarity. Finally, a proposal of public subsidy in cash and for machinery purchase has been described.
Many of the species at greatest risk of extinction from anthropogenic climate change are narrow endemics that face insurmountable dispersal barriers. In this review, I argue that the only viable option to maintain populations of these species in the wild is to translocate them to other locations where the climate is suitable. Risks of extinction to native species in destination areas are small, provided that translocations take place within the same broad geographic region and that the destinations lack local endemics. Biological communities in these areas are in the process of receiving many hundreds of other immigrant species as a result of climate change; ensuring that some of the 'new' inhabitants are climate-endangered species could reduce the net rate of extinction.
In the last few years, in several parts of the world, under extreme weather conditions, several catastrophic fires have taken place. These fires are called mega-fires. They are not just large fires but extreme events in their behavior, difficulty to control and impacts. Portugal historically has little experience with mega-fires, but recent fire events exacerbated by climate change and landscape management has changed this situation. In the year 2003, the worst and largest wildfires were ever recorded in the Algarve region and in the central region of Portugal.
However, this paper focuses on the Algarve region, using primary (i.e. questionnaires, interviews, satellite images, and fieldwork) and secondary data (i.e. Portuguese wildfire database, central and local governments' fire damages reports). Using wildfire ecological and socio-economic impacts as an important criterion to classify an event as a mega-fire, this paper conclude that two mega-fires occurred in 2003 in the Algarve Region. Taking into account the weakness in Portuguese wildfire impacts reporting process, it is proposed a checklist of categories of damages and losses to support future data acquisition.
Considering that mega-fires are a new reality in Portugal, this paper shows that increasing suppression capabilities in terms of means, readiness and effectiveness are important to avoid small fires to become mega-fires in days of critical fire danger. Nevertheless, facing the impossibility of changing the extreme weather conditions, given the complexity and uncertainty surrounding mega-fires occurrence and severity, the main challenge is to improve wildfire risk reduction instead of focusing only on fire suppression.
This paper proposes a framework which conceptualizes fire impacts as a result of interaction between fire behavior, vulnerability and suppression capabilities. It can be used for promoting wildfire prevention and mitigation. It is urgent to enhance prevention measures in order to change fire behavior and reduce vulnerability of ecosystems and societies, as well as to increase the engagement of communities in wildfire risk management.
There is a widely recognized need in the scientific and policy communities for probabilistic estimates of climate change impacts, beyond simple scenario analysis. Here we propose a methodology to evaluate one major climate change impact - changes in global average yields of wheat, maize, and barley by 2030 - by a probabilistic approach that integrates uncertainties in climate change and crop yield responses to temperature, precipitation, and carbon dioxide.
The resulting probability distributions, which are conditional on assuming the SRES A1B emission scenario and no agricultural adaptation, indicate expected changes of +1.6%, 14.1%, 1.8% for wheat, maize, and barley, with 95% probability intervals of ( 4.1, +6.7), ( 28.0, 4.3), ( 11.0, 6.2) in percent of current yields, respectively. This fully probabilistic analysis aims at uantifying the range of plausible outcomes and allows us to gauge the relative importance of different sources of uncertainty.
The Mediterranean basin is the largest world area having specific climatic conditions suitable for olive cultivation, which has a great socio-economic importance in the region. However, the Mediterranean might be particularly affected by climate change, which could have extensive impacts on ecosystems and agricultural production. This work focussed on the climate change impact on olive growing in the Mediterranean region considering the possible alterations of cultivable areas, phenological dates, crop evapotranspiration and irrigation requirements. Monthly climate data, with a spatial resolution of 0.25°×0.25° (latitude by longitude), have been derived from Regional Climate Models driven by ECHAM5 for the A1B scenario of the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES).
The data used in the analysis represented two time periods: (i) present, called year 2000 (average values for the period 1991-2010), and (ii) future, called year 2050 (average values for the period 2036-2065). The areas suitable for olive cultivation were determined using the temperature requirements approach known as the Agro Ecological Zoning method. Crop evapotranspiration and irrigation requirements were estimated following the standard procedure described in the FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 56. Results showed that the potentially cultivable areas for olive growing are expected to extend northward and at higher altitudes and to increase by 25% in 50 years. The olive flowering is likely to be anticipated by 11±3 days and crop evapotranspiration is expected to increase on average by 8% (51±17mmseason-1).
Net irrigation requirements are predicted to increase by 18.5% (70±28mmseason-1), up to 140mm in Southern Spain and some areas of Algeria and Morocco. Differently, effective evapotranspiration of rainfed olives could decrease in most areas due to expected reduction of precipitation and increase of evapotranspirative demand, thus making it not possible to keep rainfed olives' production as it is at present.
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.