The impact of climate change on crop mix shift in the Nordic region

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Growing evidence of anthropogenic climate change suggests marked changes in agricultural ecosystems and crop suitability across the globe. Northern Europe is primarily predicted to see beneficial impacts through crop shifts towards the North of the region. However, studies that quantify the magnitude of climate induced past shifts and the likely future shifts in the agricultural land use patterns are lacking. We use a rich municipality level longitudinal data set from the Nordic region from 1979 to 2012 to study farmers’ adaptation to climate change in terms of crop mix shift. We model four land use classes, namely, cereal, grass, oil seed, and ‘others’, a category summing the remaining agricultural land uses. On top of climatic variables, we include biophysical and economic variables as controls in the regression. We utilize a multinomial fractional logit regression to estimate changes in the land use mix. The projection results indicate that both the near future (2041–2070) and the far future (2071–2100) projected climate are likely to increase the area share of cereal and at the same time decrease the share of grass in the Nordic region relative to the baseline climate (1981–2010). However, these results vary across the region. The results generally suggest a moderate climate induced impact on the spatial crop distributions. Our projection results show a moderate shift in agricultural crop distributions depending on the climate scenario and the time-horizon. Depending on the climate change scenario, grass and cereal are expected to shift by up to 92.8 and 178.7 km, respectively, towards opposite directions; grass towards the South–West and cereal towards the North–East. Overall, the projected areal expansion of cereal towards the North–East is expected to lead to increased environmental pressure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2962
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

ID: 337287462