Biodynamic Wine is More Sustainable, Spanish Study Finds

by Adin Bonapart

A 2014 study by Villanueva-Rey et al. found that environmental impacts from viticulture are substantially reduced with biodynamic practices, as opposed to conventional methods. The environmental impact reductions obtained from biodynamic grape-production systems are attributed to an 80% decrease in diesel fuel, pesticides, fertilizers, and other external inputs. Diesel use is the main source of environmental impacts for viticulture, and is up to 4 times lower in biodynamic systems resulting from differences between mechanized farming techniques in conventional vineyards and the implementation of artisanal methods in biodynamic wine-growing. Continue reading

Global Crop Losses from Climate Change, GGC Models Predict

by Adin Bonapart

Rosenzweig et al. (2014) perform an intercomparison of seven global gridded crop models (GGCMs) and analyze their combined effectiveness in predicting the outcomes of climate change on the world’s food systems. Differences in the structure, purpose, and process between individual models are major sources of uncertainty in multi-model climate change assessments. Regardless of their high degrees of uncertainty however, global crop projections indicate substantial crop-yield losses worldwide, particularly in the tropics. Continue reading

Global Crop Losses from Climate Change, GGC Models Predict

by Adin Bonapart

Rosenzweig et al. (2014) perform an intercomparison of seven global gridded crop models (GGCMs) and analyze their combined effectiveness in predicting the outcomes of climate change on the world’s food systems. Differences in the structure, purpose, and process between individual models are major sources of uncertainty in multi-model climate change assessments. Regardless of their high degrees of uncertainty however, global crop projections indicate substantial crop-yield losses worldwide, particularly in the tropics. Continue reading

Healthier Diets Needed to Avert Climate Change

by Adin Bonapart

Using global datasets, the Bajželj et al. (2014) study models different agriculture-based climate mitigation scenarios that minimize the expansion of cropland while insuring global food security. The business-as-usual (BAU) projections for 2050 result in a scenario in which global agriculture alone produces ~21 gigatons of CO2 every year, almost the full 2 °C global target emissions allowance in 2050. The study quantifies the loss of Net Primary Production potential along the agricultural biomass flow, and identifies areas of significant food waste and inefficient farming practices for improvement. The researchers then examine the effects of different “demand-side” or “supply-side” agricultural efficiency measures and solutions. Continue reading

Crop Wild Relatives and Global Food Security

by Adin Bonapart

Domestication by humans has reduced the genetic diversity within certain crops over time, making agriculture more susceptible to changes in climate. Some of the relevant effects of global climate change include shifts in temperature, rain variability, and plant pathogen range, all of which impact crops in various ways. Models predict that such climate-driven effects account for yield losses of 6 to 10% per 1°C of warming (Guarino and Lobell 2011). Furthermore, a global human population predicted to reach over 9.3 billion by 2050, plus degraded soils, water, land, and other resources, is creating further instability for food systems around the world. Continue reading