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.
Feeding the world's growing population is a serious challenge. Food insecurity is concentrated in developing nations, where drought and low soil fertility are primary constraints to food production. Many crops in developing countries are supported by weathered soils in which nutrient deficiencies and ion toxicities are common. Many systems have declining soil fertility due to inadequate use of fertility inputs, ongoing soil degradation, and increasingly intense resource use by burgeoning populations. Climate models predict that warmer temperatures and increases in the frequency and duration of drought during the 21st century will have net negative effects on agricultural productivity.
The potential effects of climate change on soil fertility and the ability of crops to acquire and utilize soil nutrients is poorly understood, but is essential for understanding the future of global agriculture. This paper explores how rising temperature, drought and more intense precipitation events projected in climate change scenarios for the 21st century might affect soil fertility and the mineral nutrition of crops in developing countries. The effects of climate change on erosion rates, soil organic carbon losses, soil moisture, root growth and function, root-microbe associations and plant phenology as they relate to mineral nutrition are discussed. Our analysis suggests that the negative impacts of climate change on soil fertility and mineral nutrition of crops will far exceed beneficial effects, which would intensify food insecurity, particularly in developing countries.
While there is consensus that urbanization is one of the major trends of the 21stcentury in developing countries, there is debate as to whether urbanization will increase or decrease vulnerability to droughts. Here we examine the relationship between urbanization and water vulnerability for a fast-growing city, Chennai, India, using a coupled human-environment systems (CHES) modeling approach. Although the link between urbanization and water vulnerability is highly site-specific, our results show some generalizable factors exist.
First, the urban transformation of the water system is decentralized as irrigation wells are converted to domestic wells by private individuals, and not by the municipal authority. Second, urban vulnerability to water shortages depends on a combination of several factors: the formal water infrastructure, the rate and spatial pattern of land use change, adaptation by households and the characteristics of the ground and surface water system. Third, vulnerability is dynamic, spatially variable and scale dependent.
Even as household investments in private wells make individual households less vulnerable, over time and cumulatively, they make the entire region more vulnerable. Taken together, the results suggest that in order to reduce vulnerability to water shortages, there is a need for new forms of urban governance and planning institutions that are capable of managing both centralized actions by utilities and decentralized actions by millions of households
If there is a strong argument in favour of multifunctional forest management, there is also controversy regarding the types ofmultifunctionality able to instil virtuous circles across landscapes. Managing forests in such a way that user groups, sustainability practitioners and forestry institutions all agree to, is not easy. For any reliable consensus to occur, via viable landscape design procedures, through which mul- tiple functions (production, environmental protection and recreation) may be coordinated by means of innovative planning, there is a need to negotiate a set of common objectives and shared responsibili- ties.
This paper examines the policy dimensions of multifunctional forest management, and, through an exploratory case study, proposes an approach for cooperative planning and institutional design. The case study involved two parishes in the Minho region ofPortugal (Gavieira and Entre Ambos-os-Rios) combin- ing the local communities, the National Park, and local forestry officers. The case study created, developed and validated two scenario storylines through a series of participatory processes (two focus group meet- ings, one comprehensive workshop, and one expert meeting). One scenario focussed on continuity ofthe traditional management patterns, with an emphasis on direct goods such as timber and livestock grazing (traditional multifunctionality).
The other concentrated on indirect ecological services, such as soil and water protection, as well as carbon sequestration (new multifunctionality). An attempt was also made to implement the scenario storylines through initiating a pilot project in both of the case study areas. How- ever, there were neither robust planning mechanisms nor adaptive governance systems with the capacity to put into place forest management “futures” likely to deliver more sustainable landscape-scale uses in these areas. This paper illustrates the difficulties in forging governance systems that have the capacity and the vision to be able to put sustainable development concepts into practice, even when a coherent package of planning measures are tried out, given a policy setting that is confused, contradictory, and where the “status quo” tends to be given prominence.
Climate change will increase the number and severity of heat waves, and is expected to negatively affect crop yields. Here we show for wheat and maize across Europe that heat stress is considerably reduced by irrigation due to surface cooling for both current and projected future climate. We demonstrate that crop heat stress impact assessments should be based on canopy temperature because simulations with air temperatures measured at standard weather stations cannot reproduce differences in crop heat stress between irrigated and rainfed conditions.
Crop heat stress was overestimated on irrigated land when air temperature was used with errors becoming larger with projected climate change. Corresponding errors in mean crop yield calculated across Europe for baseline climate 1984-2013 of 0.2 Mg yr -1 (2%) and 0.6 Mg yr -1 (5%) for irrigated winter wheat and irrigated grain maize, respectively, would increase to up to 1.5 Mg yr -1 (16%) for irrigated winter wheat and 4.1 Mg yr -1 (39%) for irrigated grain maize, depending on the climate change projection/GCM combination considered. We conclude that climate change impact assessments for crop heat stress need to account explicitly for the impact of irrigation.