Research articles

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  • Climate change affects agricultural productivity. New systematic global agricultural yield projections of the major crops were conducted using ensembles of the latest generation of crop and climate models. Substantial shifts in global crop productivity due to climate change will occur within the next 20 years—several decades sooner than previous projections—highlighting the need for targeted food system adaptation and risk management in the coming decades.

    • Jonas Jägermeyr
    • Christoph Müller
    • Cynthia Rosenzweig
  • Climate change may pose a fundamental challenge to maintaining the high productivity of US dairy systems. Based on weather variability and milk yields from 1981 to 2018, this study estimates the impact of extreme heat and cold on productivity, the sensitivity of specific regions and the importance of farm management for mediating such impacts.

    • Maria Gisbert-Queral
    • Arne Henningsen
    • Nathaniel D. Mueller
  • Estimating the global cropland N2O mitigation potential is limited by the uncertainty and variability of direct emission factors (EFs). Here, using a data-driven approach with 1,507 chamber-based field observations of EFs, the study shows that EF variation is primarily driven by climatic and edaphic factors. Two-thirds of the mitigation potential could be achieved on one-fifth of the global harvested area, mainly located in humid subtropical climates and across gleysols and acrisols.

    • Xiaoqing Cui
    • Feng Zhou
    • Dongqiang Zhu
  • An integrated methodology that includes climate, crop, economic and life cycle assessment models was developed to explore the climate adaptation and mitigation opportunities throughout the US potato and tomato supply chains. This study shows that supply chains for two popular processed products in the United States, French fries and pasta sauce, will be remarkably resilient, through planting adaptation strategies.

    • David Gustafson
    • Senthold Asseng
    • Liujun Xiao
  • To increase crop yields in many regions of sub-Saharan Africa, farmers would need to use more fertilizers. However, estimating the local maize yield responses to fertilizers shows that the fertilizer and maize price ratio presents a strong barrier to achieving higher yields in most regions.

    • Camila Bonilla-Cedrez
    • Jordan Chamberlin
    • Robert J. Hijmans
  • Ancestral wheat relatives can enrich the genetic diversity of modern cultivars and contribute to stress adaptation. A meta-genome-wide association study identifies the exotic genome footprints in a wheat pre-breeding population, as well as some exotic-specific agronomic traits.

    • Sukhwinder Singh
    • A. Jighly
    • N. S. Bains
  • Effective prioritizing of R&D investments in agriculture needs robust estimation of yield gaps for major cropping systems. Yield potential derived from the ‘top-down’ spatial frameworks is subject to a high degree of uncertainty and would benefit from incorporating estimates from ‘bottom-up’ spatial frameworks.

    • Juan I. Rattalino Edreira
    • José F. Andrade
    • Patricio Grassini
    Article Open Access
  • The combination of hot and dry conditions reduces crop yields through heat and drought stresses. The heat sensitivity of crops depends on the local strength of couplings between temperature and moisture, but how future climate will impact the temperature–moisture couplings remains unknown. On the basis of historical patterns and a suite of climate models, this study projects that climate change will modify the couplings and probably worsen the impacts of warming on some of the world’s most important crops.

    • Corey Lesk
    • Ethan Coffel
    • Radley Horton
  • The nutritional, economic and livelihood contributions provided by aquatic food systems are threatened by climate change. Building climate resilience requires systemic interventions that reduce social vulnerabilities.

    • Michelle Tigchelaar
    • William W. L. Cheung
    • Max Troell
  • The quantification of greenhouse gas emissions related to food production and consumption is still largely hindered by the availability of spatial data consistent across sectors. This study provides a detailed account of emissions from land-use change, farmland, livestock and activities beyond the farm gate associated with plant- and animal-based foods/diets—culminating in local-, country- and global-level emissions from each major agricultural commodity.

    • Xiaoming Xu
    • Prateek Sharma
    • Atul K. Jain
  • Increasing nitrogen use efficiency is the most effective strategy to reduce undernourishment while respecting the nitrogen boundaries in regions such as China and India. This supply-side effort plays a more important role in alleviating food insecurity than demand-side efforts such as diet shifts and reduced waste when introducing regional nitrogen targets.

    • Jinfeng Chang
    • Petr Havlík
    • Michael Obersteiner
  • Biodiversity in food systems is key to ensuring healthier diets, more sustainable food production and increased resilience to environmental and socio-economic disturbances. On the basis of a comprehensive scoring framework, the Agrobiodiversity Index proposed in this study gives a clear picture of agrobiodiversity at the country level as well as guidance to enhance it.

    • Sarah K. Jones
    • Natalia Estrada-Carmona
    • Roseline Remans
  • Higher income is associated with healthier, but more environmentally detrimental, diets in the United States. Healthy diets with lower environmental impacts are achievable within current food budgets for the majority of the population, but are unaffordable for 38% of Black and Hispanic people in the lowest income and education groups.

    • Pan He
    • Kuishuang Feng
    • Klaus Hubacek
  • Forced labour in agriculture is a threat to the sustainability of food systems. With distinct datasets and a new forced labour risk scoring method, this study demonstrates that while many commodities are at higher risk, a small number of commodities account for substantial fractions of the risk embedded in the US retail fruit and vegetable supplies.

    • Nicole Tichenor Blackstone
    • Catherine Benoit Norris
    • Jessica L. Decker Sparks