Help ag address climate change, conservationists say
Global climate change presents a “formidable challenge” to food production and the environment, according to a policy position released recently by the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS). The group, a membership organization of research and conservation professionals, also cited agriculture as an important factor in climate change for its contribution of greenhouse gases.
“Extreme weather events are creating environmental problems, accelerating the rate of erosion, and threatening agricultural production needed for food security,” the statement said.
In the coming decades food production increasingly will be threatened by “climate change, deforestation, erosion, depletion of water resources, and other climate change consequences,” the group says. “Higher cost for fuel and other energy forms will also affect agriculture and thus food security.”
SWCS cited a number of practices that can help agriculture mitigate and adapt to climate change, including:
* Increase soil carbon levels.
* Maintain surface cover.
* Cultivate perennial vegetation as biofuel feedstock.
* Use agroforestry practices to create windbreaks and riparian buffers where possible.
* Target conservation practices.
* Promote crop input efficiency.
SWCS called on farmers and ranchers to join with scientists and conservation specialists to exchange information and experience to improve conservation.
The group asked for more long-term research to address climate issues affecting agriculture. And the statement underlined the fact that the public needs to understand the big challenge farmers face in coping with climate change.