Unchecked greenhouse gas emissions threaten 60% of Colombian land suitable for rice

June 6, 2019

A new study published in Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change found that, left unchecked, greenhouse gas emissions will reduce Colombian land suitable for rice production by 60% by the 2050s.

According to researchers at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, mitigation could require decisions around land-use change, changes in crop cultivation and food security.

Lead author and CIAT researcher Fabio Castro said many of the impacts could be avoided if there is swift action is taken to facilitate new farming strategies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The researchers highlight the importance of global efforts to decrease emissions to take the pressure off of countries like Colombia. They also suggest a transition to heat-tolerant rice varieties and more efficient water management by Colombian farmers.

This is the first study about the effects of climate change on farm land in a Latin American country, and the paper highlights the climate-change challenges faced by countries in the region, where rice is the most important crop. Unlike in China, Colombian farmers don’t have the opportunity to move farther north to mitigate climate impacts.

Climate change is influencing agriculture across the globe, and even the Midwestern states of the United States are feeling pressure to adapt. A Cornell study highlighted the vulnerability of crops in states like Indiana, which plant mostly rain-fed crops.

Indiana’s two largest crops are corn and soybeans, which both rely on rains during the summer to grow. Cornell researchers noted that drought conditions would be more detrimental to agriculture in the Midwest than any other region of the U.S.

Farmers are already making changes to adapt to the effects of climate change, such as planting earlier in the season or choosing different crops to grow.

Unchecked greenhouse gas emissions threaten 60% of Colombian land suitable for rice