The terms “Climate crisis” or “climate change” are used to describe global changes in the average temperature of the Earth and the consequences of temperature changes. Climate change directly or indirectly affects many serious events in our lives. Also, climate change has negative effects. These include changes in precipitation regimes, drought, natural disasters, temperature increases, and forest fires. All these negative effects also pose a significant threat to productivity in agriculture. Agriculture is an activity mostly affected by climate. Agriculture is one of the most vital sectors affecting the food and nutrition of the world population. It is also directly impacted by climate change.
Floods, heat waves, frequently recurring extreme weather events, and storms caused by climate change cause substantial damage to agricultural production and animal husbandry. In this article, we will examine the effects of climate change on agriculture, which scars all humanity and has severe consequences. Then, information will be given about the solutions and measures taken. These are intended to reduce the negative effects of climate change on agriculture and prevent food problems. Let’s examine together the importance of taking action today to build a brighter future.
Climate Change and Agriculture
The climate is one of the most important determinants of agricultural production based on time and regional differences. Agriculture is a vital cycle that provides the fundamental products necessary for the continuation of humanity. The most obvious effects of climate change on agricultural production include productivity, more diseases, changes in planting and harvesting time, and increased demand and cost of irrigation water.
The effects of climate change considerably affect productivity in agriculture. Increasing temperatures affect the temperature at which the product should develop. When the optimum temperature determined for an agricultural product is exceeded, the productivity obtained from that agricultural product may decrease. However, the temperature increase experienced in some regions may benefit the product. Additionally, other factors, such as changing temperatures, water, and nutrient deficiencies, prevent the increase in the yield of agricultural products. Another factor that significantly affects soil fertility is erosion. Soil cultivation and temperature increase cause an increase in the rate of soil degradation. This increases the danger of erosion and reduces the fertility of the soil.
Diseases and Pests
Moreover, excessive rainfall increases Co2 quantity. Temperature increases above seasonal norms with climate changes create a favorable environment for plant diseases and pests. Due to these sudden and unexpected disease and pest infestations, the quantity and quality of agricultural products decreased. For example, in the USA, a loss of approximately 1 billion dollars was experienced due to the decrease in genetic diversity against leaf blight disease in maize.
Water resources are the essential life source of the world and agricultural products. One of the shocking consequences of climate change is the negative effects on water resources. Studies show that more than 3 billion people will experience water scarcity as of 2025. In addition, excessive precipitation is one of the negative effects of climate change. Changes in the intensity and distribution of precipitation adversely affect the development of agricultural products. For example, the amount of precipitation that should fall within a few months falling within a few hours causes serious damage.
For a Bright Future: Solutions to Climate Change
To prevent the negative effects of climate change on agriculture and to adapt agricultural production to climate change, smart agricultural practices, planning, and specific targets are followed. In the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, there is an emergency action plan established to “combat climate change and its impacts”. This action plan is aimed at planning the capacity of agricultural production to adapt to climate risks and natural disasters. In addition to these, there are important solutions and practices to reduce the impacts of climate change on agricultural production.
Rainwater harvesting is a method developed to collect and use the water that passes into a surface runoff with precipitation for irrigation. The purpose of rainwater harvesting is to nourish groundwater and increase agricultural production and yields, which are restricted due to the lack of water. In addition, it provides ecological and recreational benefits with side applications such as soil improvement, increasing ground cover and organic content in the soil, fish, and suitable plant production in ponds. The benefits of rainwater harvesting include the following:
- Improves the soil by nourishing soil life and vegetation.
- Combats drought and prevents soil erosion.
- Allows us to conserve water for present and future generations.
- Provides environmental, social, and economic adaptation to climate change.
- Contributes to rural development by supporting agricultural irrigation.
Direct drilling is a method that makes it possible to drill at one time without the need to till the soil before sowing. This method increases water retention in the soil and prevents erosion. In addition, it also supports the improvement of the soil structure.
Saving Water Usage
With the impact of the climate crisis, drought has caused serious crop losses in various regions. Therefore, the need for irrigation has increased. Pressurized irrigation methods are preferred in order to meet the increasing water demand with limited water resources.
Reduced tillage is recognized as the oldest soil management system. This technique is preferred to maintain the moisture content in the soil and to increase the organic matter content of the soil. According to recent studies, this method to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has given effective results.
One World, Common Future
In addition to all these, international organizations determine certain protocols and agreements to combat climate change. The main articles of these agreements include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, keeping the global temperature increase below 2 degrees, reducing the use of oil and coal, and using renewable energy sources. The climate crisis is not a problem that can be solved by a single country or countries coming together to produce solutions. Every person, society, and country should reach a sufficient level of awareness on this issue and the problem should be tackled collectively. Sustainable, digital, and economical practices should be adopted to protect the agricultural lands necessary for us to reach food, which is our essential resource.