Adaptation strategies for a sustainable global wheat production.

Mirjam Röder, Patricia Thornley, G. Campbell, P. Gilbert

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    Climate change is predicted to have impacts on agricultural productivity that will create significant global challenges if we are to sustainably feed a growing world population. While some parts of the northern hemisphere are expected to benefit from climate change related temperature increases and increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations, agricultural yields may decrease for some southern producers.This paper uses the example of wheat, which is one of the most important staple cereal crops worldwide, to explore climate change issues relevant to production and consumption. A review is given of how changing lifestyles and the associated environmental, economic, political and development issues are likely to increase the global wheat demand in a potentially unsustainable manner.It is therefore necessary to adapt existing practices and the work reported here illustrates climate change adaptation strategies aimed at wheat production in the UK. Using life cycle analysis, a suite of four fertiliser scenarios according to climate change projections for the UK where calculated to show the environmental impact of the adaptation strategy of applying higher N rates to access improved yields. It showed that the use and production of N fertiliser had in all cases the greatest environmental impact. A moderate increase of N rates and yields under an ambient temperature showed similar global warming potential (GWP) as the current UK wheat production, while a significant increase of N and yield would lead to a higher GWP. The simulation of a high temperature scenario in which high N inputs are necessary to generate sufficient yields showed the highest emission rates and GWP per unit of wheat output mainly through the great impacts associated with N fertiliser.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationhost publication
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventReframing sustainability? Climate Change and North-South Dynamics - Helsinki, Finland
    Duration: 10 Feb 201111 Feb 2011


    ConferenceReframing sustainability? Climate Change and North-South Dynamics
    CityHelsinki, Finland


    • wheat production, adaptation, climate change, food security, regional and global supply


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