The objective of this project is to study quantitatively the feedback processes linking pollinators, plant diversity and crop yields in the framework of climate and land use changes. The response of agricultural yields to climate change is critically dependent on these feedbacks that until now remain largely unexplored. In order to fill this gap, we will focus on studying interactions between three main sectors: biodiversity/nature conservation, forestry and agriculture (see figure above). Within agriculture, the emphasis will be put on three sub-sectors: fruit crops, food/fodder crops and energy crops. We will use diverse types of crop and vegetation models to estimate the impacts of climate change on each studied sector in several case study regions in Europe. The study will be undertaken with local stakeholders, who will identify most relevant topics to be addressed by the consortium. The interdependencies between the sectors will be analysed through the dynamics of land use and land cover on the one hand and dynamics of pollinator communities on the other hand.
We will assemble a small set of complementary models to capture the dynamics of this complex system at regional level. First, we will produce spatio-temporal high-resolution climatic scenarios over the studied regions, by using a regional climate model. Then, we will use various (agricultural/fruit) crop models, dynamic vegetation models and species distribution models to assess the impacts of future climate change on agricultural yields and biodiversity, using ensemble means whenever relevant. An agent-based model will then be used to derive detailed land use and land cover change scenarios for the future at the scale of the studied regions. This suite of models will allow to assess potential impacts on pollinator communities. This improved knowledge of pollinator dynamics will then be used to refine the calculation of some agricultural yields, especially those of some selected fruit crops. Finally, the social and economic impacts of the projected changes in the studied regions will be evaluated, by assessing quantitative indicators developed from the model results in concertation with project stakeholders.
The study will be driven by stakeholder interests. Pollinator decline, fruit crop damage, and more generally, climate change impacts on crop yields are problems of increasing concern among stakeholders. We will shape the project along the major problems identified in each studied region by local stakeholders. A web platform will be developed with online tools allowing to visualize results on selected regions or to perform simple simulations of interest for the user. This platform will be designed for potential end-users of project results, by involving stakeholders from the start of the project.
The main research focus of CESR is the performance of convection-permitting regional climate model simulations at very high spatial resolutions (~ 1 – 3 km) for present and future climate over the study regions. Results will be provided to project partners to force their impact models. Updated vegetation parameters and land cover from other working groups will be implemented into the model for further simulations closing the feedback loop. The analysis of extreme events is an essential part.
Coordination: University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
Belgium: University of Namur, Namur, Belgium
The Netherlands: Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, University of Utrecht, Utrecht
Germany: Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Potsdam
Spain: Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, CSIC, Cordoba
Austria: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Merja Helena Tölle (Dr. habil.)
Alessandro Ugolotti (Dr. rer. nat.)