Nikolaos Karapetsas, Anne Gobin, George Bilas, Thomas M. Koutsos, Vasileios Pavlidis, Eleni Katragkou, Thomas K. Alexandridis

Analysis of Land Suitability for Maize Production under Climate Change and Its Mitigation Potential through Crop Residue Management

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Global and Planetary Change

Land Suitability Analysis (LSA), under the impact of climate change, is a fundamental approach to the design of appropriate land management strategies for sustainable crop production and food security. In this study, the FAO framework was used to assess the impact of climate change on land suitability for maize in Flanders, Belgium. The current LSA revealed the marginal suitability for maize cultivation, characterizing most of the agricultural land in Flanders and identifying precipitation as the most limiting factor for maize suitability. The LSA, under two climate change scenarios, was based on climate projections from several CMIP5 Global Circulation Models, transformed into future land suitability projections and assembled into a multi-model ensemble (MME) of projected suitability changes. The results indicate an average reduction in projected suitability of approximately 7% by 2099 under the high-emission scenario. The potential of the Soil-Improving Cropping System (SICS) to mitigate the impacts of climate change on land suitability was statistically significant under both low- and high-emission scenarios. This research provides valuable insights into the MME modeling of climate change impacts on land suitability and its associated uncertainty, with the application of SICS as a potential long-term mitigation measure to promote sustainable agricultural practices.

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