Scenarios of long-term farm structural change for application in climate change impact assessment

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35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Towards 2050, climate change is one of the possible drivers that will change the farming landscape, but market, policy and technological development may be at least equally important. In the last decade, many studies assessed impacts of climate change and specific adaptation strategies. However, adaptation to climate change must be considered in the context of other driving forces that will cause farms of the future to look differently from today’s farms. In this paper we use a historical analysis of the influence of different drivers on farm structure, complemented with literature and stakeholder consultations, to assess future structural change of farms in a region under different plausible futures. As climate change is one of the drivers considered, this study thus puts climate change impact and adaptation into the context of other drivers. The province of Flevoland in the north of The Netherlands was used as case study, with arable farming as the main activity. To account for the heterogeneity of farms and to indicate possible directions of farm structural change, a farm typology was developed. Trends in past developments in farm types were analyzed with data from the Dutch agricultural census. The historical analysis allowed to detect the relative importance of driving forces that contributed to farm structural changes. Simultaneously, scenario assumptions about changes in these driving forces elaborated at global and European levels, were downscaled for Flevoland, to regional and farm type level in order to project impacts of drivers on farm structural change towards 2050. Input from stakeholders was also used to detail the downscaled scenarios and to derive historical and future relationships between drivers and farm structural change. These downscaled scenarios and future driver-farm structural change relationships were used to derive quantitative estimations of farm structural change at regional and farm type level in Flevoland. In addition, stakeholder input was used to also derive images of future farms in Flevoland. The estimated farm structural changes differed substantially between the two scenarios. Our estimations of farm structural change provide a proper context for assessing impacts of and adaptation to climate change in 2050 at crop and farm level
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-527
JournalLandscape Ecology
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • climate adaptation
  • climatic change
  • agriculture
  • structural change
  • farm management
  • farm structure
  • scenario analysis
  • flevoland
  • netherlands
  • agricultural land-use
  • future
  • policy
  • adaptation
  • diversification
  • vulnerability
  • productivity
  • consequences
  • variability
  • performance

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