Global Scale

The impacts to global agriculture are predicted to be greatest in the poorer countries of Africa and South America, where the options for adaptation are considerably more limited. Adaptation will include alterations to drainage and irrigation, better soil management, adjustment to changes in growing seasons, alteration of crop variety and increased pest control.

Much research has been carried out to date on the impacts of climate change on commercial forestry in Ireland. This requirement for adaptation in the industry is based on the limited options for change in the short term. Unlike agriculture, where growing seasons are typically one year, forestry rotations are of the order of 35-60 years and trees being sown today will reach full maturity around mid-century when the effects of climate change will have a greater impact. As such, foresters are now carrying out research into new tree species and management practices that will allow them to adapt to climate change and protect their industry. There are also growing concerns about the potential damage to future forestry yields from pests and diseases, which may increase due to climate change.

Irish Agriculture

With the onset of higher ambient temperatures and varying rainfall patterns, some Irish farmers will be required to modify their existing farm practices and land uses. In the south and east, where increased summer drought is predicted, the viability of grasslands for livestock and potato growing may be in question due to reduced summer rainfall. Where irrigation is required for these crops the farmers may opt to change the land use to cereal production, as cereals experience less water stress than grass or potatoes in the summer months. In other parts of the country, the increased ambient winter temperatures may allow for cereal production where it is currently not possible due to frost.

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