Observed impacts and adaptation in European cropping systems

J.E. Olesen, (submitter)


The cultivation of crops, their productivity and quality, are directly dependent on different climaticfactors. Climate change is already having an impact on cropping systems in Europe, and farmersand other agricultural stakeholders are considering how to adapt to the ongoing changes inclimatic conditions. It is generally accepted that productivity of crops will increase in northernEurope due to a lengthened growing season and an extension of the frost-free period. Insouthern Europe, climate change is likely to negatively affect the productivity of crops and theirsuitability in certain regions primarily due to extreme heat events and an overall expectedreduction in precipitation and water availability. Year-to-year variability in yields is generallyexpected to increase throughout Europe, due to extreme climatic events and other factors,including pests and diseases. There is a large variation across the European continent in climaticconditions, soils, land use, infrastructure, and political and economic conditions, which greatlyinfluence the responsiveness to climatic change. Despite these many, diverse and ongoing effectsof climate change in Europe, there is little consolidated evidence on how climatic change affectscrops and cropping systems in Europe. Therefore, a questionnaire-based study of experts wasinitiated to give an overview of ongoing impacts and adaptations in European cropping systems.The study covers five major crops including wheat, oilseed rape, maize, potato and grapevine.The questionnaire takes individual European nations as the basis, but these are subdivided intoenvironmental zones, and responses are sought for each environmental zone. We present initialfindings of the questionnaire survey for major European crops.

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