Predicting future stability of ecosystem functioning under climate change

H. J. White*, P. Caplat, M. C. Emmerson, J. M. Yearsley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

To maintain food security under global change, we need to consider the stability of ecosystem functioning into the future, particularly in resource production landscapes such as agricultural pasture. With ongoing climate change, extreme climatic events are predicted to become more frequent and severe globally, impacting crop production. The whole process of farming will become more uncertain, from choice of crop and crop productivity to the timing of the windows of opportunity for management decisions. Future agricultural policies, therefore, should not only consider changes in grassland production, but also its future stability. We use a case study of agricultural pastures on the island of Ireland to project different components of ecosystem stability (resistance, recovery time and recovery rate) to 2050 and 2080 under different future climate scenarios: a peak and decline scenario; and a continued emissions scenario. We show that future climate change will have substantial effects on both the future resistance and the recovery of ecosystem functioning following environmental disturbances, but the spatial pattern of effect sizes is not the same for these two measures of stability. National level analyses and agricultural policies, therefore, are likely to ignore regional variation in future change. From this, we encourage the translation of stability-based constructs, as well as maximum yield considerations, into future agricultural policy at the regional level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107600
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Volume320
Early online date09 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication has emanated from research conducted with the financial support of Science Foundation Ireland and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland under Grant number (15/IA/2881).

Funding Information:
This publication has emanated from research conducted with the financial support of Science Foundation Ireland and the Department for the Economy , Northern Ireland under Grant number ( 15/IA/2881 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Ecosystem functioning
  • Food security
  • Pasture
  • Productivity
  • Remote sensing
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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