Will we be hungry in a warming world? USDA wants to know

Niina Heikkinen, E&E reporter

The agricultural livestock field will have to undergo systematic changes to cope with food security and sustainability problems in a climate-changed world, according to a new report commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences.

By the year 2050, demand for animal protein is predicted to go up significantly as the global population reaches between 9 billion and 10 billion people. Meat and egg consumption is expected to increase 73 percent from 2011 levels, and dairy consumption will likely go up by 58 percent. In order to meet the rising demand, animal scientists will need to develop more sustainable production practices, while also dealing with climate change’s effects on yields and on animal and human well-being, explained the report’s authors.

In addition to climate change, the nearly 300-page reportaddressed a broad range of other factors affecting future sustainability and food security, including landscape degradation, pest control and the spread of disease.

“The simple broad message of this report is that too much research has been siloed or fragmented into specialty sections,” said B.T. Turner II, Gilbert F. White professor of environment and society at Arizona State University and member of the committee. “We need a systems-based approach.”

Add more science, subtract methane

For animal scientists, that would mean greater integration of environmental, economic and social sciences into their studies, starting in the very early stages of their research, said Mo Salman, a member of the committee and professor of veterinary epidemiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University.

Read more here: http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060011619


Can farmers help address climate change?

By Nigel Parry

From biofuels to biochar, the ways in which farms can become part of the solution are myriad.
Professor Steve Wratten of the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University says farmers can help curb the effects of climate change. Image / Supplied
Professor Steve Wratten of the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University says farmers can help curb the effects of climate change. Image / Supplied

Climate change can have significant effects on farming and food production.

The boot should be on the other foot, according to Professor Steve Wratten of the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University. Farmers can combat climate change.

“Most pesticides and fertilisers are not needed and overused,” he claims.

One of the environmental effects of all this waste is overusing products that are made by carbon-intensive processes. We should use them wisely and be more aware of the economic thresholds before choosing to spray. A complimentary solution is to look after and enhance ‘nature’s services’; pollination by bees, topsoil worked by earthworms, pest control by ladybirds.

“We understand these processes and realise they have been knocked about by modern agriculture,” Wratten says.

Read more here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/element-magazine/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503340&objectid=11383615

Climate Change Threatens Quechua and Their Crops in Peru’s Andes

By Fabiola Ortiz, Inter Press Service

Quechua Indian women bargain and sell vegetables. (Photo: Global Water Partnership)Quechua Indian women bargain and sell vegetables. (Photo: Global Water Partnership)

Pisac, Peru – In this town in Peru’s highlands over 3,000 metres above sea level, in the mountains surrounding the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the Quechua Indians who have lived here since time immemorial are worried about threats to their potato crops from alterations in rainfall patterns and temperatures.

“The families’ food security is definitely at risk,” agricultural technician Lino Loayza told IPS. “The rainy season started in September, and the fields should be green, but it has only rained two or three days, and we’re really worried about the effects of the heat.”

If the drought stretches on, as expected, “we won’t have a good harvest next year,” said Loayza, who is head of the Parque de la Papa or Potato Park, a biocultural conservation unit created to safeguard native crops in the rural municipality of Pisac in the southeastern department or region of Cuzco.

In the Parque de la Papa, which is at an altitude of up to 4,500 metres and covers 9,200 hectares, 6,000 indigenous villagers from five communities – Amaru, Chawaytire, Pampallaqta, Paru Paru and Sacaca – are preserving potatoes and biodiversity, along with their spiritual rites and traditional farming techniques.

The Parque de la Papa, a mosaic of fields that hold the greatest diversity of potatoes in the world, 1,460 varieties, was created in 2002 with the support of the Asociación Andes.

This protected area in the Sacred Valley of the Incas is surrounded by lofty peaks known as ‘Apus’ or divine guardians of life, which until recently were snow-capped year-round.

Read more here: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28331-climate-change-threatens-quechua-and-their-crops-in-peru-s-andes