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Study examines impacts of shifting cropping patterns on water and the environment

February 25, 2020  By PLOS One (Public Library of Science)

Recent research has documented potential environmental impacts of shifting cropping patterns, including impacts on water, wildlife, pollinator interaction, carbon storage and nature conservation, on national to global scales.

The joint study between the Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science, Conservation International, Arlington, Va., the University of Guelph and others is entitled “The environmental consequences of climate-driven agricultural frontiers.” It is published in the journal, PLOS One (Public Library of Science).

According to an abstract of the article, growing conditions for crops such as coffee and wine grapes are shifting to track climate change. Research on these crop responses has focused principally on impacts to food production impacts, but evidence is emerging that they may have serious environmental consequences as well.


Multiple crops will be moving in response to shifting climatic suitability, and the cumulative environmental effects of these multi-crop shifts at global scales is not known.

This study models for the first time multiple major global commodity crop suitability changes due to climate change, to estimate the impacts of new crop suitability on water, biodiversity and carbon storage.

Read the full study.

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