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Plateforme de phénotypage pour l'étude de la vulnérabilité des populations prairiales à un extrême climatique de type sécheresse à l'UREP (Unité de Recheche sur l'Ecosystème Prairial). Mesures de croissance sur les bacs, hauteurs, longueurs des talles.. © INRA, TOILLON Sylvie

AAFCC metaprogramme

Updated on 11/13/2014
Published on 02/15/2013

Climate change has visible effects, such as stagnating yields of cereals in Europe in recent years, and the measures available estimate that livestock production accounts for up to 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is necessary, first, to adapt production systems to climate change and, also, to identify areas where forests, crops and livestock can contribute to mitigate climate change.

The IPCC report published in 2007 predicts a moderate rise in temperature until 2050 of around 2 °C if world greenhouse gas (GG) emissions are reduced by 2015 or a rise in excess of 4-5 °C if the current trend continues. Both scenarios agree there will be an increase in climate variability and extreme weather events (summer heat waves and droughts, heavy precipitation in winter, storms, etc.), the impacts of which will increase over the coming decades.

A cascade of climate change impacts on water demand and availability, soil quality, bio-aggressor pressure, input requirements, product quality and typicality, agricultural yields and patterns of land use is therefore to be expected during the course of this century. Climate change interacts on ecosystems with other changes and other pressures (increased atmospheric concentration of CO2, ozone, atmospheric nitrogen deposition, species introductions, changes in land use and farming practices, population growth, changes in dietary habits and global economic growth, etc.).

Adapting in a changing environment

The combined effects of these various changes must be considered in the context of global changes. All projections indicate that, regardless of any laudable efforts made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate change will continue and consequently we should consider ways of adapting to it. Farming activity and natural environments are expected to bear the brunt of climate change impacts, so it is here that adaptation efforts will be greatest. Furthermore, adaptation strategies implemented by agriculture in the broadest sense will generate positive or negative effects (particularly in terms of greenhouse gases, biodiversity, water resources and soil) which we need to understand better.

In this context, an initial mapping of current research at INRA indicates several thematic gaps or weak spots which the programme aims to address: research on climate change in genetics and animal and plant health, systemic research on strategies to anticipate climate shock or restore conditions in the event of serious impacts,etc. This research has so far focused very heavily on the impacts of climate change. Little work has been done on adapting to climate change, on the induced effects, on the costs and benefits of adaptation, despite these being major socio-economic challenges. This assessment led to the establishment of the "Adapting agriculture and forest to climate change" metaprogramme (AAFCC MP).