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Oliver Weber

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If the climate is changing, will land use need to change?

June 2021

The earth’s surface has gradually been warming up since the beginning of the 20th century – by as much as 1C in some places. One degree doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can have a huge impact on what crops grow, what animals thrive in certain areas, and how we live.

The big question is: how will these changes in rainfall and temperature, and increased adverse weather events affect how we can use our land?

  • There will be seasonal shifts in elements such as sowing dates
  • Animal heat stress is likely to increase, so farmers will need to manage water, nutrients, and shade or shelter
  • Extreme weather events will increase the risk of nitrate leaching

The research is continuing as part of the Whitiwhiti Ora – Land use Opportunities research programme led by Our Land and Water and co-funded by the Deep South National Science Challenge. The research aims to answer two questions:

  1. Will we be able to farm the same thing tomorrow as today, or will this need to change?
  2. How will practices on the farm need to change to respond to climate change?

Click through to read about the land use or processes that might have to change, and the choices farmers should be making now.

Manaaki Whenua, 11 June 2021

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