Climate change impact on production and income of Mediterranean farming systems: a case study

Gabriele Dono


Adaptation to climate change calls for local responses. The impact of a 2020-30 climate scenario was assessed on a 54,000 ha Mediterranean district characterized by a variety of farming systems (FS), ranging from low-input rainfed (42% of the district area and 16% of the district net income) to high-input irrigated. Climate was generated with a Regional Atmospheric Modelling System nested into a full coupled atmosphere-ocean global simulation model, under the A1B emission scenario. Crop responses to climate were assessed using EPIC after calibration. The Temperature Humidity Index was used to assess the impact on dairy cow milk yield. Farmer choices were simulated on 13 representative FS by an hybrid model of supply, territory and farm. The adaptive choices were simulated through Discrete Stochastic Programming, fed by probability distribution functions output of crop and animal models.  The expected decrease in spring rainfall (-33%) will affect hay-crop production and the net income (NI) of rainfed livestock farms (-5 to -12%). The increased summer temperature will affect dairy cows NI up to -5.9%. Rice production is expected to increase up to +10%. Overall, the NI of irrigated and rainfed farms will be -2.1%  and -5.4% of the current NI respectively, with livestock FS being the most affected and rice and horticultural FS the most resilient. Results will provide an ideal mediating object for engaging policy makers and stakeholders in designing visionary adaptive strategies.

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Co-authors: Raffaele Cortignani1, Davide Dell’Unto1, Luca Doro2, Nicola Lacetera1, Laura Mula2, Massimiliano Pasqui3, Sara Quaresima4, Andrea Vitali1, Pier Paolo Roggero2,5

Dipartimento di scienze e tecnologie per l’Agricoltura, le Foreste, la Natura e l’Energia (DAFNE), Università della Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy; 2Nucleo di Ricerca sulla Desertificazione (NRD), Università di Sassari, viale Italia 39, 07100 Sassari, 3 CNR Istituto di Biometeorologia (IBIMET), Roma, Italy; 4 Consiglio per la Ricerca e la Sperimentazione in Agricoltura (CRA), Unità di Ricerca per la Climatologia e la Meteorologia applicate all’Agricoltura (CMA), Roma, Italy; 5 Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli studi di Sassari, Italy

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