Predicting future stability of ecosystem functioning under climate change

White, Hannah J. and Caplat, Paul and Emmerson, Mark C. and Yearsley, Jon M. (2021) Predicting future stability of ecosystem functioning under climate change. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 320. p. 107600. ISSN 0167-8809

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To maintain food security under global change, we need to consider the stability of ecosystem functioning into the future, particularly in resource production landscapes such as agricultural pasture. With ongoing climate change, extreme climatic events are predicted to become more frequent and severe globally, impacting crop production. The whole process of farming will become more uncertain, from choice of crop and crop productivity to the timing of the windows of opportunity for management decisions. Future agricultural policies, therefore, should not only consider changes in grassland production, but also its future stability. We use a case study of agricultural pastures on the island of Ireland to project different components of ecosystem stability (resistance, recovery time and recovery rate) to 2050 and 2080 under different future climate scenarios: a peak and decline scenario; and a continued emissions scenario. We show that future climate change will have substantial effects on both the future resistance and the recovery of ecosystem functioning following environmental disturbances, but the spatial pattern of effect sizes is not the same for these two measures of stability. National level analyses and agricultural policies, therefore, are likely to ignore regional variation in future change. From this, we encourage the translation of stability-based constructs, as well as maximum yield considerations, into future agricultural policy at the regional level.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Climate change, Food security, Ecosystem functioning, Pasture, Productivity, Remote sensing, Stability
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2021 11:01
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2022 15:23

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