Climate changes how we can use our land
Land managers and natural resource planners need to be able to predict the suitability of land for different uses. Climate change has the potential to drastically affect the viability of land for use in agriculture – but how much, and what will be the impact?
This research will help us to better understand the impact climate change will have on the land’s suitability for agriculture – with a particular focus on pastoral, arable and horticultural crops. The project considers both productivity and environmental impacts of changing climate variables on decision about whether land is appropriate for agricultural use. The initial phases of the project have brought together information about the key climate variables (temperature, rainfall, extreme wind speed, drought and relative humidity) and the effects on productivity in each sector and associated losses of contaminants to receiving environments. Identification of key variables relevant to each sector will then allow modelling under different climate scenarios to build a better picture of long term production and environmental effects.
In the next stages of the project, the economic, social and cultural values which are affected by how land is used for agriculture will also be explored.
This project is the first formal collaboration between two National Science Challenges; Our Land and Water and the Deep South, and brings together expertise from Manaaki Whenua, Plant and Food Research, AgResearch and GNS. The goal is to assist those who work with primary industries to make informed decisions which incorporate the effects of climate change while still meeting soil, water quality and economic objectives.