Prioritizing climate-smart agricultural land use options at a regional scale
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Shirsath PB, Aggarwal PK, Thornton PK, Dunnett, A. 2016. Prioritizing climate-smart agricultural land use options at a regional scale. Agricultural Systems 151:174–183.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/77225
The promotion of climate-smart agriculture in different parts of the world requires a clear understanding of its relative suitability, costs and benefits, and the environmental implications of various technological interventions in a local context under current and future climates. Such data are generally difficult to obtain from the literature, field surveys and focused group discussions, or from biophysical experiments. This article describes a spreadsheet-based methodology that generates this information based on a region specific production function and ‘target yield’ approach in current and future climate scenarios. Target yields are identified for homogeneous agroecological spatial units using published crop yield datasets, crop models, expert judgement, biophysical land characterisations, assessment of yield gaps and future development strategies. Validated production/transfer functions are used to establish relationships between inputs (water, seed, fertilizer, machinery, energy, labour, costs) and outputs (crop yields, residues, water and fertiliser use efficiencies, greenhouse gas emissions, financial returns). The process is repeated for all spatial units of the region, identified through detailed mapping of critical biophysical factors, and for all suitable current and potential agronomic production technologies and practices. The application of this approach is illustrated for prioritizing agronomic interventions that can enhance productivity and incomes, help farmers adapt to current risk, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions in current and future climates for the flood- and drought-prone state of Bihar in north-eastern India. In general, climate smartness increases with advanced technologies. Yield is the least limiting while emission is the most limiting factor across the entire crop-technology portfolio for climate smartness. Finally, we present a robust climate smart land use plan at district level in Bihar under current and future climate scenarios.