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Hyman G.,Centro Internacional Of Agricultura Tropical Ciat | Hodson D.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | Jones P.,Waen Associates
Frontiers in Physiology | Year: 2013

Crop improvement efforts have benefited greatly from advances in available data, computing technology, and methods for targeting genotypes to environments. These advances support the analysis of genotype by environment interactions (GEI) to understand how well a genotype adapts to environmental conditions. This paper reviews the use of spatial analysis to support crop improvement research aimed at matching genotypes to their most appropriate environmental niches. Better data sets are now available on soils, weather and climate, elevation, vegetation, crop distribution, and local conditions where genotypes are tested in experimental trial sites. The improved data are now combined with spatial analysis methods to compare environmental conditions across sites, create agro-ecological region maps, and assess environment change. Climate, elevation, and vegetation data sets are now widely available, supporting analyses that were much more difficult even 5 or 10 years ago. While detailed soil data for many parts of the world remains difficult to acquire for crop improvement studies, new advances in digital soil mapping are likely to improve our capacity. Site analysis and matching and regional targeting methods have advanced in parallel to data and technology improvements. All these developments have increased our capacity to link genotype to phenotype and point to a vast potential to improve crop adaptation efforts. © 2013 Hyman, Hodson and Jones. Source


Jones P.G.,Waen Associates | Thornton P.K.,CGIAR Program on Climate Change
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2015

Agricultural modellers often need detailed soil profile data with which to run their models. We combine an extensive soil profile database with the Harmonized World Soil Database, a 30. arcsecond raster database of soil information worldwide, and describe a statistical process to identify representative soil profiles for each of its 188 distinct soil types at different spatial resolutions. We then outline a method to cluster the soils in the Harmonized World Soil Database to produce soil maps at coarser resolution, and we describe derived global soil maps at spatial resolutions of 5 and 10. arcmin, which may be more practical for some large-scale modelling studies. The derived data files allow a user to select any point or area on land and then to access the set of soil profiles pertaining to the mapping unit selected, which are available in a format suitable for use in modelling applications. In situations where the user has little or no other information about the soils in the region of study, the methods described can be used to produce plausible soil profile information based on the most up-to-date global soil map currently available. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Source


Thornton P.K.,Kenya International Livestock Research Institute | Jones P.G.,Waen Associates | Alagarswamy G.,Michigan State University | Andresen J.,Michigan State University | Herrero M.,Kenya International Livestock Research Institute
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2010

The East African region exhibits considerable climatic and topographic variability. Much spatial and temporal variation in the response of different crops to climate change can thus be anticipated. In previous work we showed that a large part of this variation can be explained in terms of temperature and, to a lesser extent, water effects. Here, we summarise simulated yield response in two crops that are widely grown in the region, maize and beans, and investigate how the impacts of climate change might be addressed at two levels: the agricultural system and the household. Regionally, there are substantial between-country and within-system differences in maize and bean production responses projected to 2050. The arid-semiarid mixed crop-livestock systems are projected to see reductions in maize and bean production throughout most of the region to 2050. Yields of these crops in the tropical highland mixed systems are projected to increase, sometimes substantially. The humid-subhumid mixed systems show more varied yield responses through time and across space. Some within-country shifts in cropping away from the arid-semiarid systems to cooler, higher-elevation locations may be possible, but increased regional trade should be able to overcome the country-level production deficits in maize and beans caused by climate change to 2050, all other things being equal. For some places in the tropical highlands, maize and bean yield increases could have beneficial effects on household food security and income levels. In the other mixed systems, moderate yield losses can be expected to be offset by crop breeding and agronomic approaches in the coming decades, while more severe yield losses may necessitate changes in crop types, movement to more livestock-orientated production, or abandonment of cropping altogether. These production responses are indicative only, and their effects will be under-estimated because the methods used here have not accounted for increasing weather variability in the future or changes in the distribution and impacts of biotic and other abiotic stresses. These system-level shifts will take place in a context characterised by high population growth rates; the demand for food is projected to nearly triple by the middle of this century. Systems will have to intensify substantially in response, particularly in the better-endowed mixed systems in the region. For the more marginal areas, the variability in yield response, and the variability in households' ability to adapt, suggest that, even given the limitations of this analysis, adaptation options need to be assessed at the level of the household and the local community, if research for development is to meet its poverty alleviation and food security targets in the face of global change. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source


Jones P.G.,Waen Associates | Thornton P.K.,CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2013

We describe a generalised downscaling and data generation method that takes the outputs of a General Circulation Model and allows the stochastic generation of daily weather data that are to some extent characteristic of future climatologies. Such data can then be used to drive any agricultural model that requires daily (or otherwise aggregated) weather data. The method uses an amalgamation of unintelligent empirical downscaling, climate typing and weather generation. We outline a web-based software tool (http://gismap.ciat.cgiar.org/MarkSimGCM) to do this for a subset of the climate models and scenario runs carried out for the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We briefly assess the tool and comment on its use and limitations. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Thornton P.K.,Kenya International Livestock Research Institute | Jones P.G.,Waen Associates | Ericksen P.J.,University of Oxford | Ericksen P.J.,Kenya International Livestock Research Institute | Challinor A.J.,University of Leeds
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences | Year: 2011

Agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa faces daunting challenges which climate change and increasing climate variability will compound in vulnerable areas. The impacts of a changing climate on agricultural production in a world that warms by 4° C or more are likely to be severe in places. The livelihoods of many croppers and livestock keepers in Africa are associated with diversity of options. The changes in crop and livestock production that are likely to result in a 4° C+ world will diminish the options available to most smallholders. In such a world current crop and livestock varieties and agricultural practices will often be inadequate and food security will be more difficult to achieve because of commodity price increases and local production shortfalls. while adaptation strategies exist considerable institutional and policy support will be needed to implement them successfully on the scale required. Even in the 2° C+ world that appears inevitable planning for and implementing successful adaptation strategies are critical if agricultural growth in the region is to occur food security be achieved and household livelihoods be enhanced. As part of this effort better understanding of the critical thresholds in global and African food systems requires urgent research. ©2011 The Royal Society. Source

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