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Global Environmental Change Group


Building on our previous work on land evaluation and agricultural modeling, our research provided some of the earliest estimations of climate change impacts for food production and some of the first considerations of adaptation to climatic variations and change. Our current work in agriculture focuses on how the sector is vulnerable to changing climate (in the context of changes in demand, technologies, and other socio-economic conditions), and how the agrifood system can adapt to a dynamic environment. Some of this research is published in Farming in a Changing Climate, co-edited by Wall, Smit and Wandel (2007). 

Leading an interdisciplinary program on climate change and agriculture in Ontario (sponsored by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food), we have documented historical variations in agriculture-relevant climatic parameters. Sensitivities and adaptive strategies in mixed crop-livestock operations and in the Niagara grape and wine industry were analyzed as part of this research program. Additionally, we directed and operated the agriculture node of the Canada Climate Impact and Adaptation Research Network (CCIARN-Agriculture), which facilitated information sharing among researchers, governments, agricultural businesses and farmers. Accomplishments of CCIARN-Agriculture are reflected in From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007.

We have collaborated with colleagues in other parts of Canada to help understand the implications of environmental changes for agricultural production and adaptive management in the Prairie region and British Columbia. The BC study considered apples and grapes and wine in the Okanogan valley. Prairie initiatives include Manitoba (with Ramsey at Brandon) and southern Alberta and Saskatchewan (with the Canadian Plains Research Centre and the associated Institutional Adaptation to Climate Change MCRI).

Some of the accomplishments in our agricultural projects are summarized in Reid et al. (2007), Wall and Smit (2006), and McLeman and Smit (2005). Visit our Publications section to find the full references for these, and other, publications.

Please visit our Study Sites section to read about research undertaken by our core team in the Okanagan Valley (British Columbia), the Niagara Wine Region (Ontario), Maule Valley (Chile), Hanna (Alberta), and the Elqui River Basin (Chile).