Climate Change impacts on food production

Food is our life source and without food, our body won’t function. Thus any impact to it will have a direct impact on us. A year of not enough or too much rainfall, a hot spell or cold snap at the wrong time, or extremes, like flooding and storms, can have a significant effect on local crop yields and livestock production. Our food comes in three forms,: agriculture, fisheries, and livestock. Each impacted by climate change.

Agriculture:

Higher CO2 levels can affect crop yields. Even if increase of CO2 is said to elevate plant growth, other factors such as fluctuation of temperature, water and nutrient content may counteract the increase.

  • Temp greater than optimal levels: sufficient water and nutrients are not available; yield will decrease.
  • Extreme Conditions: More extreme temperature and precipitation can prevent crops from growing. Extreme events example: floods and droughts.
    • Drought: No precipitation. When coupled with high temperatures -> soil becomes dry -> Plant water available decreases -> plant goes into desiccation unless irrigated regularly.
  • Weeds & Pests: Such organisms thrive with warm temperatures, wet climates, and increased CO2 levels. Thus with climate change, there spreading will increase causing new problems for farmers. Hence, farmers will increase the use of pesticides contributing to more health risks on humans
  • Nutritional Value: Increase CO2 -> decrease protein and mineral concentration in plants. -> threat to human health.

Fisheries:

Many fisheries already face multiple stresses, including overfishing and water pollution. Climate change may worsen these stresses. In particular, temperature changes could lead to significant impacts.

  • Change in habitat: Nevertheless, moving into new areas may put these species into competition with other species over food and other resources.
  • Disease outbreak: Increase in temperature, more bacterial and viral species have the ability to thrive.
  • Reproduction and migration: Lengthening and shortening of seasons will cause a disruption in the timing of reproduction and migration.
  • Acidification of Oceans: Increase in CO2 -> increase in acidity. Dissolving on Calcareous shield species, or even on the economical and tourism side, the disappearance of coral reefs to which many species rely on as a habitat.

Livestock:

Changes in climate could affect animals both directly and indirectly.

  • Heat stress: Increase vulnerability to disease, reduce fertility and reduce milk production.
  • Threaten pasture and feed supplies: high temperatures will reduce available lands for grazing. So, for animals that rely on grain, changes in crop production due to drought could also become a problem.
  • Diseases: Increase the prevalence of parasites and diseases that affect livestock. Increase temperature will favor heat tolerant diseases or parasites, while areas that will experience more precipitation will have increase of fungi and moisture favoring species.
  • Use of Parasiticides: these are likely to be used to maintain livestock health in response to climate-induced changes in pests, parasites, and microbes. Their introduction to livestock will end up in our systems, one way or another.
  • Decrease Nutritional Value: As stated for agriculture, with temperature and CO2 increase would lead to decrease in nutritional content. Thus livestock will need to feed on more lands to get same nutritional benefits.

 

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