Cultivating according to new climates

If we want agriculture to keep being a productive sector it’s necessary to implement solutions adapting old agricultural systems to the new climatic conditions. The goal is reducing the vulnerability of cultivations and increasing the resilience of rural areas from both an environmental and economical point of view, which means enhancing the capacity of agricultural activities of regaining productivity after catastrophic events, as droughts, hurricanes and floods. To adapt to the different availability of resources, farms can modify crop rotation to make best use of water, plan periods of sowing with regards to temperature and precipitation, use crops which are more resilient to heat waves and drought and restore hedges, rows of trees and bushy areas between cultivated areas to reduce water losses from soil and cultivations (increasing areas of shade and reducing plants evapotranspiration).
The agricultural sector can guide activities providing information on current risks regarding climate change and potential adaptive measures which farms can implement. In Europe, some of the Member States (Finland, Spain, France, United Kingdom) are already implementing measures aiming to adapt productive agricultural activities to new climatic conditions, and are also conducting studies and researches to assess the impact of climate change on agriculture. In particular, adaptive measures regard the capacity to prevent external extreme events related to climate as floods, hurricanes and drought to limit the effects generated by temperature rise and increased variability of climatic conditions. In Germany, for example, the sowing period of corn and sugar has been anticipated by 10 days, in southern France up to 20 days ahead. In some cases adaption requires forms of investment in machinery and infrastructure to improve, for example, the irrigation system.

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