Based on a consensus of recent scientific research and modeling, a new report from USDA concludes that climate change is already affecting U.S. agriculture, land resources, water resources and biodiversity. The report, “The Effects of Climate Change on U.S. Ecosystems,” identifies many of the effects of climate change on agriculture and other ecosystems in the U.S. over the next several decades. The USDA report was done in cooperation with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).
Some of the report’s main points:
- Grain and oilseed crops will mature more rapidly, but increasing temperatures will heighten the risk of crop failures, particularly where precipitation decreases or becomes more variable.
- Marketable yield of horticultural crops (such as tomato, onion, and fruit) are more vulnerable to climate change than grains and oilseed crops due to the high sensitivity of their quality and appearance to climate factors.
- Livestock mortality will decrease with warmer winters but this will be more than offset by greater mortality in hotter summers. Hotter temperatures also will result in reduced productivity of livestock and dairy animals, due to changes in consumption and lower pregnancy rates.
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