The Macaulay Institute

Land Allocation Decision Support System

Climate Change and Agriculture: are we asking the right questions?

23 November 2005 A one-day seminar-workshop supported by the British Council and Scottish Executive.

The day opened with a historical perspective on what has caused change in Scottish upland farming over the past 200 years, by Dr Graham Russell (Edinburgh University). This was followed by presentations that highlighted the global context of climate change: reduction in some countries' ability to produce enough food; the potential role of land use for supplying renewable energy; and appraisals of the sources of uncertainty on modelling future conditions. The LADSS modelling tool and its use within an Integrated Assessment framework to address climate change issues were detailed. Dr Gianni Bellocchi (CRA-ISCI, Bologna, Italy) then described the application of numerical characterisation metrics to climate change weather data, which detail a range of responses and impacts on soils, growing season, access to land etc, as determined by temperature and rainfall. The afternoon session presented findings of how climate change may affect crops, livestock and other farming systems and posed questions as to how farming may adapt to change.

Mikes Presentation

The delegates made for a diverse group including farm managers, university researchers, policy and scientific advisors and members of the Scottish Executive Climate Change Unit. Information and exercises were sent out prior to the meeting. One such exercise required that the delegates prioritise a set of climate change issues. Following the presentations the delegates split into three break-out groups - one for each of the following questions:

  • What is the role for agriculture in Scotland in the future?
  • What are the priorities for the next 20-30 years?
  • How can we develop policies to aid mitigation and adaptation strategies?
Giannis Presentation

The findings of the group deliberations were reported back in the plenary session and will be collated in a report which will be available early 2006.

View the Presentations:

1: Welcome & Introduction
2: Uncertainty Metrics & Soil Impacts
3: Climate Impacts Modelling
4: Summary & Conclusions

Further Reading