'Climate change to impact suitability of tropical agricultural lands by 2100'

Suitability will shift to higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere

By Jemima Rohekar
Published: Friday 19 September 2014

More cultivable land will become available in sub-Saharan Africa, says the study (Photo courtesy: UN)

Climate change will reduce the suitability of agricultural lands in tropical and Mediterranean regions by 2100, says a study released by researchers from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. These regions include Brazil, Asia and Central Africa. The study looked at the impact of climate change conditions under a simulated global climate model.

The results also showed that suitable agricultural land will expand by 5.6 million square km. Countries in the northern hemisphere, like Canada, China and Russia, will see an increase in the proportion of suitable cropland. Additionally, the study projects “extraordinary potential” for future expansion of agricultural land in sub-Saharan Africa.

Researchers studied the suitability of land with respect to 16 major crops, including staples such as maize, rice, soybean and wheat. The findings reveal that in case of certain crops, climate change is expected to affect not only the suitability of land, but also the start and length of the growing cycle.

The study, titled Global Agricultural Land Resources – A High Resolution Suitability Evaluation and Its Perspectives until 2100 under Climate Change Conditions, was published in PLOS ONE journal on Wednesday.

Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability - summary for policymakers (IPCC Climate Report, Fifth Assessment, WGII AR5)

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