Climate change will have a profound impact on agriculture: changing how and where we grow food. The agricultural sector must dramatically increase production to meet a rising demand for food while adapting to warmer temperatures, shifting growing seasons, increased drought, and expanding pests and diseases, which all have the potential to dramatically reduce yields. For example, the heatwave and drought of 2012 alone caused $32 billion in damage, more than double that of Hurricane Irene.
Global weather patterns affect land use and management, but how does our use of the land affect global weather patterns? Does agriculture expansion in Brazil impact farming practices in New England? If the world’s population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, how will we feed ourselves, and can we fight climate change with our grocery carts?
Come along to this month's Science Pub to learn more.
Ian McSweeny is director of the Russell Foundation and board treasurer of the Agrararian Trust. Ian's work focuses on the supporting farm transition and farmland transfer, conservation, and tenure structures to benefit sustainable, regenerative food production farms. This work prioritizes soil and habitat restoration to create holistic ecological health and resiliency.
Stephanie Spera is a Neukom Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College. Stephanie is interested in how we are changing our landscapes, and what the environmental consequences of those land-use changes are. She specifically focuses on how the expansion of agriculture might affect climate, and what those change in climate mean for the future of agriculture and has worked in Brazil for the past six years. To answer these questions, she uses satellite data, climate models, and field work.
Jonathan Winter, Assistant Professor of Geography at Dartmouth College. Jonathan and his research group use computer models to explore climate change and the impacts of climate on agriculture. Jonathan is particularly interested in the sustainability of irrigated agriculture in the central United States and local projections of future climate over the Northeast.