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Water demand in Swiss agriculture, and sustainable adaptive options for land and water management to mitigate impacts of climate change (AGWAM)

English title Water demand in Swiss agriculture, and sustainable adaptive options for land and water management to mitigate impacts of climate change (AGWAM)
Applicant Fuhrer Jürg
Number 125957
Funding scheme NRP 61 Sustainable Water Management
Research institution Forschungsanstalt Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART
Institution of higher education Research Institutes Agroscope - AGS
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.01.2010 - 30.06.2013
Approved amount 461'242.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy

Keywords (7)

water use; land use optimization; climate change; life cycle analysis; farm decision; adaptation; agriculture

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Wasser wird auch für die Schweizer Landwirtschaft knapp Wie soll sich die Landwirtschaft anpassen, ohne die Umwelt stark zu beeinträchtigen, wenn ihr in Zukunft weniger Wasser zur Verfügung steht?
Lay summary

Hintergrund
Der globale Wandel wirkt sich auch auf die Landwirtschaft aus. Wenn das Wasser knapper wird und Unwetterereignisse vermehrt auftreten, würden Ernten entweder an Qualität einbüssen oder gar ausfallen. Unter solchen Bedingungen müssen die Landwirte ihre Tier- und Pflanzenproduktion anpassen, so zum Beispiel bei der Fruchtfolge, den Anbaumethoden oder der Bewässerung. Diese Anpassungen können sich aber auch negativ auf die Umwelt auswirken: Nährstoffe waschen stärker aus oder Böden erodieren vermehrt. Ein steigender Wasserbedarf der Landwirtschaft kann zudem mit anderen Nutzungen in Konflikt geraten. Es sind also politische Massnahmen notwendig, um die Anpassungsstrategien sowohl auf der Ebene der Einzelbetriebe als auch auf der Ebene der Planung zu fördern.

Ziel
Das Forschungsteam erarbeitet Strategien, damit die Schweizer Landwirtschaft auf den Klimawandel und weitere Veränderungen, insbesondere auf knapper werdendes Wasser, reagieren kann. Diese Strategien sollen einerseits ökonomische und politische Rahmenbedingungen berücksichtigen, und andererseits keine negativen Auswirkungen auf die Umwelt haben. In diesem interdisziplinären Projekt werden biophysikalische Modelle und ökonomische Methoden der Optimierung von Betrieben und der Ökobilanzierung entwickelt und angewandt. Akteure aus Politik, Planung und Praxis werden in das Projekt einbezogen, um sicherzustellen, dass die Ergebnisse ihnen bei ihren Entscheidungen helfen können.

Bedeutung
Die Resultate dienen als Entscheidungsgrundlagen für eine nachhaltige Wassernutzung der Schweizer Landwirtschaft unter veränderten Klima- und Nutzungsbedingungen. Empfehlungen werden sowohl für Landwirtschaftsbetriebe als auch für die Raum- und Landschaftsplanung abgeleitet.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.02.2013

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Pénurie croissante d’eau, pour l’agriculture suisse également Comment l’agriculture suisse doit-elle à l’avenir s’adapter à une pénurie d’eau sans fortement nuire à l’environnement?
Lay summary

Contexte
Les changements globaux influencent aussi l’agriculture. Lorsque l’eau se raréfie et que les intempéries se multiplient, les récoltes diminuent en qualité, voire disparaissent. Dans ce contexte, les agriculteurs doivent adapter leur production animale et végétale, par exemple au niveau de la rotation des cultures, des méthodes de culture ou de l’irrigation. Mais ces adaptations peuvent avoir des répercussions négatives sur l’environnement. Le lessivage des substances nutritives hors du sol et l’érosion des sols augmentent. L’augmentation des besoins en eau pour l’agriculture peut entrer en conflit avec d’autres utilisations. Afin d’encourager des stratégies d’adaptation, des mesures politiques sont donc indispensables, tant au niveau des entreprises individuelles qu’à celui de la planification.

But
Le groupe de recherche développe des stratégies permettant à l’agriculture suisse de réagir à des changements, notamment climatiques, et plus particulièrement à ceux liés à une pénurie croissante en eau. Ces stratégies devront tenir compte des conditions économiques et politiques, tout en évitant des effets négatifs sur l’environnement. Des modèles biophysiques et des méthodes économiques d’optimisation des entreprises et du bilan écologique seront développés et appliqués dans le cadre de ce projet. Des acteurs issus de la politique, de la planification et de la pratique y seront intégrés, ce dans le but d’assurer que les résultats leur seront utiles lors de leurs prises de décisions.

Portée
Les résultats servent de base de décision pour une gestion durable de l’eau par l’agriculture suisse, dans un contexte climatique et d’utilisation modifié. Des recommandations tant pour les entreprises agricoles que pour la planification du territoire et du paysage seront formulées.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.02.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Increasing water scarcity, also for Swiss agriculture How must agriculture adapt to future lower water availability, without interfering too strongly with the environment?
Lay summary
Background
Global change has an effect on agriculture. As water becomes scarcer and the number of storms increases, harvest quality decreases or harvests are even lost. Under such conditions farmers must adapt their livestock and crop production, for example in terms of crop rotation, culture methods or irrigation. However, these adaptations can have negative effects on the environment: nutrients are more readily washed out or soil erosion increases. A rising need for water in agriculture can also create conflicts with other uses. Thus, political measures are needed in order to promote adaptation strategies at the level of single operations as well as at the planning level.

Objectives and methods
The research group will develop strategies allowing Swiss agriculture to react to climate changes as well as other changes, particularly increasing water scarcity. These strategies need to take into account basic economic and political conditions on the one hand, and should not have negative repercussions on the environment on the other. This interdisciplinary project will develop and apply biophysical models and economic methods for the optimization of operations and life cycle assessment. Political and practically-oriented players as well as players involved in planning will be involved in the project in order to ensure that the results will be of use to them in their decision-making.

Significance
The results build a basis for decision-making in the field of sustainable water management in Swiss agriculture under changing climatic and usage conditions. Recommendations will be formulated for agricultural operations as well as for spatial and landscape planning.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Adapting crop management practices to climate change: Modeling optimal solutions at the field scale
Lehmann N, Finger R, Klein T, Calanca P, Walter A (2013), Adapting crop management practices to climate change: Modeling optimal solutions at the field scale, in Agricultural Systems, 117, 55-65.
Wasser und Schweizer Landwirtschaft - das Projekt AGWAM im rahmen des NFP61
Fuhrer Jürg, Holzkämper Annelie, Klein Tommy, Tendall Danielle, Lehmann Niklaus (2013), Wasser und Schweizer Landwirtschaft - das Projekt AGWAM im rahmen des NFP61.
Validation of ELPIS 1980−2010 baseline scenarios using the observed European Climate Assessment data set
Semonov MA, Pilkington-Bennett S, Calanca P (2013), Validation of ELPIS 1980−2010 baseline scenarios using the observed European Climate Assessment data set, in Climate Research, 57(1), 1-9.
Sample size requirements for assessing statistical moments of simulated crop yield distributions
Lehmann Niklaus, Finger Robert, Klein Tommy, Calanca Pierluigi (2013), Sample size requirements for assessing statistical moments of simulated crop yield distributions, in Agriculture (MDPI), 3(2), 210-220.
Modeling the sensitivity of outdoor recreation activities to climate change
Finger Robert, Lehmann Niklaus (2012), Modeling the sensitivity of outdoor recreation activities to climate change, in Climate Research, 51(3), 229-236.
Demand and Supply of Water for Agriculture: Influence of Topography and Climate in Pre-Alpine, Mesoscale Catchments
Fuhrer Jürg, Jasper Karsten (2012), Demand and Supply of Water for Agriculture: Influence of Topography and Climate in Pre-Alpine, Mesoscale Catchments, in Natural Resources, 3, 145-155.
Using farm accountancy data to calibrate a crop model for climate impact studies.
Klein Tommy et al., Calanca Pierluigi, Holzkämper Annelie, Lehmann Niklaus, Rösch Andreas, Fuhrer Jürg (2012), Using farm accountancy data to calibrate a crop model for climate impact studies., in Agricultural Systems, 111, 323-333.
Modeling Complex Crop Management-Plant Interactions in Potato Production under Climate Change
Lehmann Niklaus, Finger Robert, Klein Tommy (2012), Modeling Complex Crop Management-Plant Interactions in Potato Production under Climate Change, in Operations Research Proceedings 2011, Springer-Verlag Berlin HeidelbergSpringer Verlag, Berlin.
Policy reforms to promote efficient and sustainable water use in Swiss agriculture.
Finger Robert, Lehmann Niklaus (2012), Policy reforms to promote efficient and sustainable water use in Swiss agriculture., in Water Policy, 14(5), 887-901.
The Influence of Direct Payments on Farmers' Hail Insurance Decisions.
Finger Robert, Lehmann Niklaus (2012), The Influence of Direct Payments on Farmers' Hail Insurance Decisions., in Agricultural Economics, 43, 343-354.
Statistical crop models: Predicting the effects of temperature and precipitation changes
Holzkämper Annelie, Calanca Pierluigi, Fuhrer Jürg (2012), Statistical crop models: Predicting the effects of temperature and precipitation changes, in Climate Research, 51(1), 11-21.
Regional Crop Modeling: How Future Climate May Impact Crop Yields in Switzerland
Swiss Society for Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology (ed.) (2012), Regional Crop Modeling: How Future Climate May Impact Crop Yields in Switzerland, Swiss Society for Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Zurich.
Adaptation options under climate change for multifunctional agriculture: a simulation study for western Switzerland
Klein T, Holzkämper A, Calanca P, Fuhrer J, Adaptation options under climate change for multifunctional agriculture: a simulation study for western Switzerland, in Regional Environmental Change, 1-18.
Adaptation options under climate change for multifunctional agriculture: a simulation study for western Switzerland
Klein Tommy, Holzkämper Annelie, Calanca Pierluigi, Fuhrer Jürg, Adaptation options under climate change for multifunctional agriculture: a simulation study for western Switzerland, in Regional Environmental Change.
Adoption of Agri-environmental Programmes in Swiss Crop Production.
Finger Robert Lehmann Bernard, Adoption of Agri-environmental Programmes in Swiss Crop Production., in EuroChoices.
EVALUATING WATER POLICY OPTIONS IN AGRICULTURE: A WHOLE-FARM STUDY FOR THE BROYE RIVER BASIN (SWITZERLAND)
Lehmann Niklaus, Finger Robert, EVALUATING WATER POLICY OPTIONS IN AGRICULTURE: A WHOLE-FARM STUDY FOR THE BROYE RIVER BASIN (SWITZERLAND), in Irrigation and Drainage.
Modeling climate sensitivity and climate change influence on the provision of outdoor recreation
Finger Robert Lehmann Niklaus, Modeling climate sensitivity and climate change influence on the provision of outdoor recreation, in Climate Research.
Nitrogen Use and the Effects of Nitrogen Taxation Under Considerations of Production and Price Risk.
Finger Robert, Nitrogen Use and the Effects of Nitrogen Taxation Under Considerations of Production and Price Risk., in Agricultural Systems.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Tag der Hydrologie 2013 04.04.2013 Bern
Ecotech & Tools conference 20.11.2011 Montpellier
EAAE 2011 Congress "Change and Uncertainty" 30.08.2011 Zurich
International Conference on Operations Research 30.08.2011 Zurich
Life Cycle Management Conference 29.08.2011 Berlin
International Society for Industrial Ecology conference 07.07.2011 Berkeley
19th IASTED International Conference on Applied Simulation and Modelling (ASM 2011) 22.06.2011 Crete, Greece


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Bewässerung - Agridea Kurs 25.11.2011 Eschikon
BDU Jahrestagung - Wasser: Selbstverständlich oder ein knappes Gut? 08.11.2011 Olten
Wasser - Agrolink Tagung 24.05.2011 Gerzensee
Water Resources under Pressure - Callenges for Central European Regions 31.03.2011 Berlin, Germany
GV Ostschweizer Vereinigung für Zuckerrübenanbau 16.02.2011 Wülflingen


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Anpassung an den klimawandel - Herausforderungen für die Schweiz German-speaking Switzerland 18.11.2011
Media relations: print media, online media Schweizer Landwirtschaft und Klimawandel - wie die Forschung zur Anpassung beiträgt German-speaking Switzerland 16.05.2011

Abstract

Agriculture is a sector which is going to be strongly affected by climate change. Changes in temperature and in precipitation pattern may lead to more frequent water-related risks in agricultural production. Thus, farmers will have to adapt their water resource management to the changing climatic conditions under variable socio-economic and political constraints. Such adaptations might intensify existing impacts on the environment and lead to new conflicts with other landscape functions. To prevent continued degradation of natural resources, policy will need to support farmers’ adaptation while considering the multifunctional role of agriculture. The goal of the project is to investigate sustainable strategies for future agricultural land use and farm management to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change for water use in Swiss agriculture. The focus is on developing recommendations to optimize the use of water under different scenarios of climatic, socio-economic and political developments, while maintaining economic profitability and environmental standards, and to identify regulatory actions needed to implement adaptive measures. Relevant decision levels are considered, i.e. the regional (catchment) scale, at which planners need to develop strategies for agricultural land use and water retention, and the farm scale, where farmers need to adapt land and farm management under changing economic and political pressures. Environmental impacts of optimized strategies are assessed and ranked using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which also accounts for water use. The key questions addressed here are: What is the water consumption by agriculture in selected regions (catchments) under present and future (climate, agricultural policy, land use/technology) conditions (up to 2050), and how large is the risk in crop production due to water shortage? What are optimized strategies for water conservation in agricultural land use (forage, crop and livestock production) at the spatial scale, and at the scale of individual farms, and what are the environmental impacts of such strategies? What recommendations for management and policy measures can be made to implement sustainable water use in Swiss agriculture? Adaptive management strategies at the two levels will result from hierarchical optimization. Biophysical component models will be used to estimate impacts of changes, as projected by downscaling IPCC global climate scenarios, and land management on crop, grassland and livestock water use and productivity, and on different environmental targets, in two selected study regions (Greifensee in the Canton of Zurich, Broye in the Cantons of Vaud and Fribourg). Both regions are dominated by agricultural land use but they differ significantly in their current climatic conditions. Results will feed into both a GIS-based regional optimization model and a farm decision model. Five work packages will form the project structure: WP1 - Scenario development; WP2 - Spatially explicit optimization of land management patterns at the catchment scale; WP3 - Technological optimizations at the level of single farms; WP4 - Life Cycle Assessment of overall environmental impacts of the solutions from WP2 and WP3. The methodology will operate at the farm and regional level and will be specifically adapted to Switzerland; WP5 - Integration. The result of the integrative process will be a set of recommendations for land and farm adaptation and for policy and administrative measures necessary to facilitate adaptation to take place. A further outcome will be an estimate of water saving potentials, and a list of tradeoffs and possible conflicts. The approach combines expert knowledge and existing data with simulation tools, and it involves continuous interactions with stakeholders. These will be organized in two groups: (1) public administration, political authorities and the industry, and (2) agriculture practitioners (farmers and producer unions). The two stakeholder groups will be involved in the selection of socio-economic and technological scenarios in WP1, the selection of farm-scale management and adaptation options to be investigated in WP3, and the identification of preferences and constraints for the development of regional adaptation strategies in WP2.
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