Fantahun Ali Amedie
Master thesis in Atmospheric Science
with orientation towards Environmental Science (60 HEC)
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
University of Gothenburg
Impacts of Climate Change on
Plant Growth, Ecosystem
Services, Biodiversity, and
Potential Adaptation Measure
Impacts of Climate Change on Plant Growth, Ecosystem Services,
Biodiversity and Potential Adaptation Measures
Master thesis in Atmospheric Science with Orientation towards Environmental Science (60 HEC)
Fantahun Ali Amedie
Supervisor: Dr Göran Wallin, University of Gothenburg,
Department of Biological and Environmental Science
(Inst. för biologi och miljövetenskaper)
Box 461, SE- 405 30 Göteborg
Table of Content
2. GENERAL OVERVIEW OF CLIMATE CHANGE .........................................FEL! BOKMÄRKET ÄR INTE DEFINIERAT.
2.1 CAUSES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ..............................................................................................................................11
2.2 EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON ECOSYSTEMS AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES .....................................................................14
2.2.1 Precipitation Change .............................................................................................................................16
2.2.2 Rise in Temperature...............................................................................................................................16
3. PLANT RESPONSES TO CLIMATE CHANGE .....................................................................................................17
3.1 RESPONSES OF FIELD CROPS TO CLIMATE CHANGE......................................................................................................18
3.2 RESPONSES OF FOREST TREES TO CLIMATE CHANGE....................................................................................................19
3.3 PHOTOSYNTHESIS AND PLANT RESPIRATION PROCESSES. .............................................................................................19
3.4 AGRICULTURE AND CLIMATE CHANGE .....................................................................................................................24
3.4.1 Climate variables and productivity........................................................................................................24
3.4.2 Direct effects of climate change on food crops .....................................................................................25
3.4.3 Indirect effect of temperature...............................................................................................................25
3.4.4 Impacts of temperature × [CO2] interaction on plant processes ...........................................................26
4. ADAPTATION MEASURES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE.........................................................................................27
4.1 GENERAL OVERVIEW ...........................................................................................................................................27
4.1.2 Importance of adaptation .....................................................................................................................28
4.1.3 Dimension of adaptation.......................................................................................................................30
4.1.4 Steps in adaptation................................................................................................................................30
4.1.5 Evaluation of adaptation.......................................................................................................................32
4.2 ADAPTATION OPTIONS.........................................................................................................................................32
4.3 PRIVATE ADAPTATIONS ........................................................................................................................................33
4.5 ADAPTATION STRATEGIES FOR AGRICULTURE............................................................................................................35
4. 6 TOOLS IN PLANNING ADAPTATION .........................................................................................................................38
4.7 ADAPTATION IN TERMS OF SOME AGRO ECOLOGICAL ASPECTS......................................................................................38
4.8 SUSTAINABLE ADAPTATION MEASURES....................................................................................................................38
4.9 PARTNERSHIPS IN PRACTICING ADAPTATION AND MITIGATION FOR POOR RURAL PEOPLE ...................................................41
5. PRACTICING ADAPTATION, KEY POINTS AND QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED..............................................42
5.1. HOW CAN PREFERABLE TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE BEING APPLICABLE BY SOCIETIES?..............................42
5.2 WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO POOR COMMUNITY IN HIGH VULNERABLE DEVELOPING COUNTRIES BECAUSE OF LESS ADAPTATION
5.3 CRITERIA FOR GOOD ADAPTATION PRACTICE.............................................................................................................45
5.4 WHAT KINDS OF ADAPTATION MEASURES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ARE SUCCESSFUL IN FORESTRY?........................................46
5.5.1 Locally practiced traditional adaptation actions in forestry..................................................................47
5.5.2 Common barriers in adaptation ............................................................................................................48
6. TECHNIQUES OF MITIGATION IN AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY ..................................................................49
9. REFERENCES .................................................................................................................................................55
List of table page
Table 1: Major greenhouse gasses, current level, global warming potential
and their life time in the atmosphere…………………………………………………………………………………12
Table 2: Adaptation options implemented by private and public sectors………………………....33
Table 3: Example of simple adaptation options in agriculture, which are easily applicable..36
Table 4: different tools, which can be used for planning and practicing adaptation
options to climate change………………………………………………………………………………………………..…39
Table 5: Examples of potential adaptation measures which can be implemented
in relation to poverty reduction…………………………………………………………………………………………..40
List of figures page
Figure 1: The general feature of climate change, its impact on human and earth
Figure 2: Global average, annual anthropogenic greenhouse gases level and
main sources ………………………………………………………………………………………………........................13
Figure 3: Main sectors which take part in anthropogenic greenhouse gas
Figure 4: Most important biogeochemical processes in plant and forest
Figure 5a: Change in the rate of crop development as a function of temperature….…………...20
Figure 5b: Change in the rate of photosynthesis and respiration as a function of
Figure 6: Direct and indirect effects of rise in temperature on different component,
processes in plant and in the soil………………………………………….……………………………………………...23
Figure 7: Steps in planned adaptation to climate change …………………………………………………....32
Figure 8: Farmers opportunity in crop choice adaptation under change in To
Figure 9a: Drought effect on poor society …………………………………………………………………………...44
Figure 9b: Resilience of farmers by using option of adaptation…………………………………………….44
Figure 9c: Adapting the drought after using adaptation options through time…….…………......45
(A) – Assimilation rate
CAM – Crassulacean acid metabolism
CCA – Climate Change Adaptation
[CO2] – Carbon dioxide concentration
DRR – Disaster Risk Reduction
FACE – Free-air CO2 Enrichment
FAO – Food and Agricultural Organization
GEF – Global Environmental Facility
GHG – Greenhouse Gas
(Gs) – Stomatal conductance
GWP – Global Warming Potential
IFAD – International Fund for Agricultural Development
IPCC – Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change
LDCF – Least Developed Country Fund
NPP – Net Primary Production
ppb – Parts Per billion
ppm – Parts Per million
ppt – Parts Per trillion
Q 10 – Proportional change in respiration with a 10o
C increase in temperature
R – Respiration
REDD – Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation
Rubisco – Ribulose-1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/ oxygenase
SCCF – Special Climate Change Fund
SPA – Strategic Priority on Adaptation
UNFCCC – United Nations Frame work Convention on Climate Change
VPD – Vapor Pressure Deficit
VOC – Volatile Organic Compound
WFP – World Food Program
I sincerely thank the University of Gothenburg for this study program. At the outset, my
deepest heartfelt thanks go to my supervisor Dr Göran Wallin, Department of biological and
environmental sciences at the University of Gothenburg for all his motivation, sharing
knowledge, providing me different reference materials, and guide me during my work; I
would like to say thanks also to Professor Håkan Pleijel for his support.
Special thanks to Olof Persson, Bruktawit, Jamal Mohammed and all friends for their follow up
and always help full throughout my study.
Assessing the impacts of climate change will be a vital task in developed as well as in
developing countries because of many interdependent physical, biological and chemical
processes are ongoing in earth and human systems. These processes can be affected by
change in climate, causing an effect on natural resources (water resources, forest products,
etc.), on biodiversity, ecosystem services and on plants in general, some positive and on
others negative effects, such as, altering biophysical relationship, shrinking of habitats,
desertification and general shift in natural world.
Warming directly affects rate of plant respiration, photosynthesis, and other
biogeochemical processes. For instance, enhanced CO2 concentration can increase
photosynthetic rate especially for plants growing under warm and dry condition such as C3
plants. Naturally, plants have their own mechanism to tolerate a certain level of increased
temperature. As soil temperature increase, the decomposition rate of organic matter will
increase, and then nutrient mineralization and availability for plants uptake become increased
at presence of sufficient water if other conditions are unchanged. Thus, the interaction and
different combination effect of rise CO2 concentration and temperature is determined by soil
properties, water, mineral and nutrient availability etc, as a result the expected response of
plants in different environments and climate variability can be either positively or negatively
Therefore, in summary two basic measures are necessary to reduce impacts of climate
change; 1) practicing mitigation (reducing causes of climate change) by reducing emission of
greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the source, by substitution and conservation of energy,
improving carbon sequestration, etc and 2) practicing potential adaptation measures, (e.g.
reducing the impacts of climate change). Important examples of adaptations are; a) reducing
vulnerability (degree of susceptibility of a system to a certain damage) to climate change
impacts, focusing on coping strategies and practices to become beneficial by using
opportunities associated to climate change by reducing susceptibility and external forces to
develop the ability of resilience (increasing tackling capacity of the community and sectors to
reduce risk and damages); b) have effective conservation strategies to maintain natural
distribution of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and conserve species and genetic
diversity; c) Improving productivity in terms of quality and quantity is vital to satisfy human
needs, through adjusting different growth factors and solving effects of extreme events and
associated problems, e.g. preventing spread of pathogens, weeds, dispersion of insect and
pests etc; d) minimize impacts of climate change (its cause and effects) moving forward in
researching to identify the responses of plant species to different variable climate conditions,
and identifying uncertainty in climate and try to avoid challenges in practicing adaptation; e)
finally, increased environmental benefits from forest ecosystems by afforestation and
reforestation to reduce degradation and loss of habitats.
Key words: Climate changes, ecosystem services, plant growth, productivity, land use change,
biodiversity, adaptation, species, mitigate and vulnerability.
Current and predicted pattern of global climate change are a major concern in many areas of
socio- economic activities, such as agriculture, forestry, etc., and is a major threat for
biodiversity and ecosystem function (Lepetz et al., 2009). Climate change is a result from
emission of greenhouse gases (e.g. CO2, CH4, & N2O, etc.) in the past century that will cause
atmospheric warming (IPCC, 2007). The effects have become particularly obvious over the last
30 years in the natural environment and it will affect all level of life, from the individual,
population species community and ecosystem to the eco-region level (Lepetz et al., 2009).
The main issue that every country, private sector, institutions, etc. must face is how to adapt
the future changes in climate that will occur. Agriculture is one of the sectors, which are both
sensitive to global warming (e.g. through, atmospheric temperature, precipitation, soil
moisture, sea level and humidity) and contributes to climate change. In response to changes in
climate, through practicing adaptation options it is important to protect both market and non-
market benefits from damages. Examples of such adaptive responses is improved water
management (irrigation), improved crop varieties and other adjustments in agricultural
practices that could counter act the effects of climate change (Auger & Suwanraks, 1999).
A report from Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC, 2007) shows that CO2 released
from agriculture to large extent comes from microbial decay or burning of plant residue and
organic matter. CH4 produced during fermentation of organic material, emitted from ruminant
animals, stored manure (waste), and rice farming under flooded condition, etc. N2O generated
by microbial transformation of nitrogen in soil, manures and often, enhanced where there is
high availability of N, especially under wet condition (Smith et al., 2007). The production of
greenhouse gases from agriculture is complex and heterogeneous, but active management of
agricultural system can give possibilities for mitigation (IPCC, 2007).
The ecosystem, and balance between different dominating species and abiotic factors can be
highly affected by climate change. Tree cover provides a habitat for numerous herbaceous
plants, fungi, and lichens, small and large animals. Thus, loss of tree cover will affect virtually all
species that make up a complex forest ecosystem (Hardy, 2003). In order to increase the
function of component of some terrestrial species we need to conserve and manage agro-
Forests provide many services to human being and natural systems such as provision of food,
medicine, regulation of hydrologic cycle, recreational use and aesthetic value etc. In addition,
forest regulates the atmospheric exchange of light energy, carbon dioxide and water (Bonan,
2008). Even though plants have their own natural mechanisms to tolerate some level of adverse
conditions, physiological responses of forest (plants) under climate change condition are highly
determined by the limiting factors of a particular site of forest growth. For example, increasing
temperature may also increase vapor pressure deficit (VPD) of the air, and thereby increase
transpiration rates that may result in adverse effects, especially on dryer sites (Boyd, 2010).
Following growth of human population and industrialization, there is a resource competition
among humans over land use change, deforestation or over-harvesting, expansion of farmland
and pastureland, which causes a negative impact on biodiversity of different habitats, forest
cover, forest growth, and ecosystem services. Following these pressures, the continuous rise in
temperature, enhancement of concentration of CO2, sea level rise, and stress of nutrient and
water availability can have additional negative effects as well as positive impacts on different
processes in earth and human systems. For these and many other reasons, we need to protect
our benefits through practicing adaptation measures.
The response of humans to climate change includes two basic measures, adaptation and
mitigation addressing the impacts and causes of climate change respectively. As defined by IPCC
(2007), adaptation includes a set of actions by individuals, society, or groups and governments,
i.e. continuous stream of activities, attitudes that informs decisions about all aspects of life.
Adaptation reflects existing social norms and processes, which can be motivate by many factors
to moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities in respond to climate change.
Mitigation is an anthropogenic intervention to reduce sources of GHGs or enhance sinks of
GHGs (carbon sequestration). Thereby reduce impacts of climate change and minimize
adaptation challenges. Forest trees, through photosynthesis, remove CO2 from the atmosphere
and store it as organic carbon during life of the tree, but when the tree dies and decay or being
burnt most of the carbon will be release back to the atmosphere as CO2 (IPCC, 2007).
Hence, the first aim of this study is to assess the level of impacts of climate change on plant
production, biodiversity and different ecosystem services, and to understand the responses of
plants to change in climate conditions. The second aim is to study different ways of protecting
against environmental damages caused by climate change on e.g. agricultural yield reduction,
and other socio economic impacts, (so that we are able to minimize the impacts on marketable
and non-marketable ecosystem services). The third aim is to discuss activities and options of
efficient mitigation and potential adaptation practices by individuals, sectors, institutions and
2. General Overview of Climate Change
Global warming and climate change is largely attributed to emission of GHGs from natural or
anthropogenic sources and changes in albedo (reflection of radiation from different surfaces to
the atmosphere that causes warming or cooling of the planet, with value between 0-1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo). Climate change is one of the main drivers of terrestrial
biotic change and has different effects, such as disturbances and loss of habitat, fragmentation,
and increasing the incidence of photogenes. In addition, following a change in climate
parameters (precipitation change, snow cover, humidity, sea level etc.) there is variation in
exchange of different activities in symbiotic, prediction, parasitic and mutualistic relationships
(Lepetz et al., 2009). As global mean temperature rise, it causes positive or negative effects on
different processes and activities in earth systems (IPCC, 2007) (see Figure 1 and Figure 4).
These effects may affect ecosystem services, biodiversity, species composition, plant growth
Figure 1 General features of climate change and its impacts on human and earth systems. In this Figure,
many activities and processes interlinked with each other, and cause an interrelated effects one after
the other (modified from IPCC, 2007 synthesis report).
The effects of climate change have become obvious in the natural environment over the last 30
years, together with other threats like habitat destruction, fragmentation, disturbance and loss
in biodiversity (Lepetz et al., 2009). For instance, land use change (the most important impact)
in tropical forest can cause loss of biodiversity. Hence, overexploitation of natural resources,
use of hardwood timber and forest clearing causes high loss in the amount and availability of
habitats, and to extinction of species, especially which are endangered, and restricted in range.
Although it is difficult to make a causal link between changes of climate in relation to change in
species richness, due to many other variables are also involved (Morris, 2010), species can
interact both directly and indirectly and in most cases, indirect interaction is
unpredictable(Yodzis, 2000, Montoya et al, 2005 & Morris, 2010). Climate change affects
species indirectly by reducing the amount and availability of habitats and by eliminating species
that are essential to the species in question (Morris, 2010). As a result, the loss of one species
can result in decrease, increase or extinction of other apparently unconnected species;
however, human activities are causing secondary extinction at higher level than expected from
random species losses. When species are lost from an ecosystem, it is not the only species that
is lost, but the interaction and the general ecological functions, which we expect from these
interactions, will be also lost (Morris, 2010) (see Figure 1).
According to FAO (2007) and Minura, (2010) climate change impacts classified into two broad
categories; 1) Biophysical impacts: indicates the physical impacts caused by climate change
directly in physical environment; example, drought and flooding, causes an effect on physical
environment such as a) effects on quality and quantity of crops, pasture, forest and livestock. b)
Change in natural resources quality and quantity of soil, land and water resources. c) Increased
weed and insect pest challenges due to climate change. d) Shift in spatial and temporal
distribution of impacts, (sea level rise, change in ocean salinity, and sea temperature rise
causing fish to inhabit different ranges). 2) Socio economic impacts: following the first
biophysical impacts on environment there will be a secondary effect on socio economic
systems. E.g. decline in yield and production, reduced marginal GDP from agriculture sector,
fluctuation of world market price, change in geographical distribution of trade regimes, due to
shortage of food in quality and quantity the number of people in hunger and risk increased, and
2.1 Causes for climate change
Due to increasing world population and industrial development there is an increased emission
of GHGs. Use of fossil fuels, deforestation, burning and decay of biomass, etc., leads to higher
atmospheric CO2 concentration, which currently is around 388 ppm (see Table 1 and Figure 2)
and predicted to increase to approximately 470 – 570 ppm until year 2050 (IPCC, 2007). The
level of absorption, scattering and emission of radiation with in the atmosphere, ocean and at
the earth surface highly affected by the amount of concentration of atmospheric GHGs,
aerosols, soli type and moisture, vegetation and land cover, solar radiation etc. They are a cause
for alteration of energy balance (positive or negative change) within the climate system and are
driver of climate change (IPCC, 2007).
Table 1 Major greenhouse gases, current level, global warming potential and their lifetime in the
atmosphere. Source: IPCC (2007), http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg.html [accessed, 13 Sep 2011].
Potential (in 100
yrs.) time zone(c)
yrs. 389 ppm 1 (Anthropogenic activities,
fossil fuel use…etc).
CH4 12 yrs. 1748-1870
25 Wet rice paddies field,
N2O 114 yrs. 323 ppb 298 Agriculture, industry and
CFCs 12-100 yrs. 75-534 ppt 5000-
Industries, old air conditioner
Hours to days 34 ppb n. a. Fuel combustion, organic
It is variable and difficult to mention specific atmospheric lifetime for CO2, but mostly around
100 years is accepted.
The current level of GHGs in the atmosphere is mentioned in parts per million (ppm), parts per
billion (ppb), and parts per trillion (ppt).
GWP (Global warming potential) refers to the amount of heat trapped by GHGs in the
atmosphere. For instance when we say a 100 years GWP of CH4 is 25, we mean that if we expose
the same amount of CH4 and CO2 in the atmosphere, CH4 will have 25 times higher potential in
trapping heat than CO2 within 100 years interval.
In addition to other factors, the concentration and lifetime of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the
atmosphere depends on the rate of chemical reactions in the atmosphere (faster or slower). For
instance, CH4 primarily removed by reacting with hydroxyl radicals to form water and CO2 within
its lifetime of 12 years. The global warming potential of CH4 is 72 times higher than CO2 over a
period of 20 years and 25 times higher over a period of 100 years. However, since the current
concentration of CH4 in the atmosphere is much lower, compared to the level of CO2 (Table 1)
the total warming effect of CO2 is higher. According to the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) 2007 synthesis report, we can observe in Fig 2, the level of main anthropogenic
GHGs emissions at global scale. From the total anthropogenic GHGs emission in 2004, (The
amount of CO2 emitted due to use of fossil fuel 56.6%, from biomass burning and deforestation
17.3%, CO2 from others 2.8% ) from total anthropogenic GHGs emission CO2 represented to a
sum of about 77%, CH4 (methane) 14.3 % produced from livestock, wet rice paddy field,
different fermentation processes or (agriculture) energy and waste. From total anthropogenic
emission in 2004, 7.9 % of N2O (nitrous oxide) produced due to human activities in agriculture
(use of ammonia based fertilizer), due to combustion of hydrocarbon fuel, and from the total
anthropogenic GHGs emission in 2004, 1.1 % of F-gases (includes hydroflurocarbon,
sulpherhexafluoride, perfluorocarbon, etc.) Produced from industrial activities, use of old air
conditioners and refrigerators (see Figure 2).
Figure 2 Global average anthropogenic GHG emission levels in 2004 in terms of CO2-eq. The numerical
value in the Figure consists with reporting under emission covered by UNFCCC, Source: IPCC synthesis
report (2007). (a)
F-gases includes Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Sulphurhexafluoride (SF6) and per
Different sectors contribute to emission of GHGs with highest proportion from energy sector
followed by industry, forestry (including deforestation), agriculture, and transport sectors
(Figure 3) causes the overall anthropogenic impact on climate change.
Figure 3 The main sectors, which take part in global anthropogenic GHGs emission: source IPCC synthesis
2.2 Effects of climate change on ecosystems and ecosystem services
An ecosystem is a dynamic complex system of plant, animal, and microorganism communities
and the non-living environment interacting with each other as a functional unit. Ecosystem
services are the benefits that people get from ecosystems, like food, forest products, water
quality and quantity, soil conservation, biodiversity, recreation, and other cultural values. In
order to get good ecosystem services for human wellbeing there should be a mechanism, which
maintain the nutrient cycles, production, soil formation, etc. in a good state, furthermore
enhancing sustainability and conservation of natural as well as human made ecosystems is
important. Any disruption or loss of natural ecosystems leads to breakdown of ecosystem
functioning and causes loss of ecosystem services. Because of climate change (increased
extreme events, e.g. drought and forest fire) large proportion of species are at risk of
distinction. Here we can include the water purification by wetlands, provided by forest, the
protection of coastal areas from storm surges by mangroves and coral reefs, the regulation of
pests and diseases and the recycling of waste nutrients, the removal of carbon from the
atmosphere (Warren, 2011).
A fundamental difference between global ecosystems of the past and in the future is the
dominating influence of human activity and intervention in natural environment, in addition,
deforestation, agriculture and over grazing can fasten the processes of desertification especially
in sub tropics and semiarid lands (Bolin et al., 1989).
If we observe the function of natural ecosystems and take few example in USA, at least half of
the medicines used today derive from natural source. Between 1998 and 2002, one hundred
sixteen out of 158 new medicine drugs licensed obtained from natural origin and only one
percent of known plants analyzed for their potential of use in medicine (Warren, 2011).
Ecosystems and ecosystem services affected by global climate change, both directly and
indirectly. Many studies particularly on agricultural crops and forest shows that the enhanced
atmospheric CO2 directly increase productivity, because higher ambient CO2 concentration
stimulates net photosynthetic activity which have been called ´CO2-fertilization` effect.
Transpiration decreases through a partial stomatal closure resulting in increased water use
efficiency of plants at least at a leaf scale; nevertheless, there are considerable differences
between different species regarding their response. Some species in terrestrial ecosystems may
in the long-term indirectly react negatively, perhaps fatal, to increased CO2 concentration. The
indirect responses of ecosystems are due to the effect of elevated CO2 concentration is through
effect on climate, such as change in temperature or radiation, humidity, precipitation or other
climate variables. In most cases, this situation (the change in climate variables) can cause an
impact on ecosystems (Bolin et al., 1989).
As environmental exploitations by humans are increased, the global environmental change
(GEC) (increasing atmospheric CO2 levels and associated climate changes fragmentation and loss
of natural habitats) will also increase, which leads to rapid change on ecosystems in the world.
Despite the large body of research showing effects of GEC on population abundances,
community composition, and organismal physiology, GEC may cause less obvious alterations to
the networks of interactions among species. Yet complex networks of biotic interactions such as
predation, parasitism and pollination play an important role in the maintenance of biodiversity,
mediation of ecosystem responses to GEC, and the stability (resistance or resilience) of those
ecosystem services on which human well-being is dependent (Tylianakis et al., 2008).
The uptake of minerals, nutrient and water, canopy exchange of plants, absorption of light
energy for the formation of carbohydrate through photosynthesis reactions as well as the
breakdown and burning processes of carbohydrate for growth and development of the plant
(respiration) is highly dependent on the amount of atmospheric CO2 concentration and ambient
temperature. The processes of transpiration (affected by the opening and closure of stomata),
and evaporation from surface of plants determined by the level of temperature and CO2. Soil
biotic processes e.g. decomposition, mineralization, immobilization, and soil abiotic processes
such as solute transport, weathering, cat ion exchange, etc. in the soil affected by climate
change. As a result, it causes a change in net primary production, species composition and
resource competition; consequently, the general services, which we get from forest ecosystem;
such as forest products, biodiversity, species composition, soil and water resources and
recreation are affected (see Figure 4).
Figure 4 Schematic diagram showing the most important biogeochemical processes in plants and forest
ecosystems affected by climate change (Modified from Lukac et al., 2010).
2.2.1 Precipitation Change
Global warming causes higher evaporation rates and therefore, higher precipitation rates, but a
large general increase in precipitation is not expected, there will be some regions on the globe
where the precipitation will increase and others where it will decrease. According to IPCC
(2007), more rain expected in the equatorial belt (humid tropics) and at higher-latitudes. While
less precipitation projected at mid-latitudes, semiarid areas and dry tropics. The spatial extent
of severe soil moisture deficits and frequency of short-term drought (due to shortage and
absence of expected rain water for a short period of time) is expected to double until late 21st
century and long-term drought become three times more common especially in regions with
less precipitation (IPCC, 2007 and Fussel, 2009).
2.2.2 Rise in Temperature
Warming of the earth do not uniformly distributed over the world; continents show more rapid
temperature increase as compared to oceans. Temperature change will have very different
impacts on vegetation and ecosystem productivity, structure and composition depending on the
actual temperature range at the location (Morison & Lawrol 1999). Global temperature has
increased about 0.2o
C per decade for the past 30 years and warming is larger in the western
equatorial pacific than in the eastern equatorial pacific over the past century (IPCC, 2007).
Regional warming predicted to increase with increasing latitude. However, when we see
warming in tropics, although relatively small in its magnitude, it is likely to have consequences
on ecosystems, because of the warming effect dry ecosystems become drier, since tropical
species are relatively sensitive to temperature change as they currently are living very close to
their optimal temperature level. These results imply that the greatest extinction risks from
global warming may be in tropics, where biological diversity is also greatest (Fussel, 2009).
Temperature can affect photosynthesis through modulation of the rates of activities of
photosynthetic enzymes and the electron transport chain and indirectly through leaf
temperatures defining the magnitude of the leaf–to-air vapor pressure difference, which is a
key factor influencing stomata conductance. Unlike the temperature sensitivity of processes like
flowering and fruiting many other physiological processes have small genotypic variations,
although some genetic adaptation have been observed on enzymes like Rubisco (Lloyd &
3. Plant Responses to Climate change
Plants are grouped in to ´C3`, ´C4` and ´CAM` plants according to their photosynthetic metabolic
pathways. Around 95 % of the world plant biomass grouped in ´C3` plant species (e.g. wheat,
rice, fruits & vegetables), C4 (e.g. maize or corn, sugarcane & sorghum) and CAM (e. g.
Pineapple). These divisions into groups largely based on the enzymes involved in photosynthetic
fixation of CO2, namely Rubisco, PEP carboxylase and to some extent carbonic anhydrase, which
are significantly different in their response to CO2 enrichment. CO2 together with other minerals
can activate Rubisco by binding at a non-catalytic site on the enzyme protein. The process of
photorespiration rate is high in C3 plants and the relative proportion of CO2 and O2 inside the
leaf determines the rate of photorespiration. In contrast, PEP carboxylase in C4 plants not
inhibited by O2 and thus photorespiration is negligible. PEP carboxylase also has a higher
effective affinity for CO2 than Rubisco in the absence of O2. Therefore, we would expect higher
atmospheric CO2 concentrations to increased photosynthesis and growth of C3 plants but not to
the same extent, if any, in C4 plants (Bolin, 1989). The result from experiments done on wild
grass species shows that under elevated CO2 condition both C3 and C4 species show increase in
the total plant biomass of 44% and 33% respectively, the increased in C3 species was greater in
tiller formation whereas in C4 was greater in leaf area. Net CO2 assimilation rates (A), that
means (flux of CO2 between leaf and atmosphere through photosynthesis) increased in both C3
and C4 species with 33% and 25% respectively, while, stomatal conductance (Gs)(the ability of
CO2 entering, or water vapor exiting through the stomata) decreased for C3 and C4 species by
24% and 29%, respectively (Wand et al., 1999).
Many simulation results showed that increased biomass production were observed in both C3
and C4 plants under elevated [CO2]; although the enhancement of shoot production by elevated
CO2 varied with temperature and precipitation. In C3 species, the response of NPP to increased
temperatures was negative under dry and ambient CO2 condition, but was positive under wet
and doubled CO2 condition; whereas, the responses of NPP of C4 species to elevated CO2 was
positive under all temperature and precipitation levels particularly at high precipitation level
(Chen et al., 1996). Plant growth in elevated atmospheric CO2 has shown to be less vulnerable
to drought, maintaining higher growth rate on drought condition than plants under lower CO2.
Elevated CO2 also enhances plant resistance to heat, frost stresses, likely reflecting greater
concentrations of membrane stabilizing sugars in the tissues and it induces greater nutrient
deficiency, and as observed in several studies it leads to accumulation, of secondary carbon rich
chemicals such as tannins (Niinemets, 2010).
3.1 Responses of field crops to climate change.
Elevated [CO2] leads plants to produce a larger number of mesophyll cell, chloroplasts, longer
stems and extended length, diameter and number of large roots, forming good lateral root
production with different branching patterns; in some agricultural food crops, resulting in
increasing root to shoot ratios under elevated [CO2] (Qaderi & Reid, 2009). The potential of crop
productivity increased under an increased in local average temperature range of 1-3o
C, but it
decreased above this range (IPCC, 2007), probably the reason could be low vernalization,
shortened phenological phases decrease in photosynthesis rate, and increased transpiration. (
Qaderi & Reid, 2009).
Elevated CO2 have a positive effect on some annual C3 field crops, such as soybean, peanut, and
rice cultivars, etc. Growth and development accelerated throughout the vegetative phase, and
before flowering stage started seven days earlier, which contributed to the higher grain yield
and change in the chemical composition of the rice grain (Uprety et al., 2010). Some studies also
show that a reduction in maize (C4 species) yield occurred under elevated [CO2] condition due to
shortened growing period and a yield reduction also recorded in some experiment on winter
wheat (C3 species) due to an effect on vernalization period (Alexadrov & Hoogenboom, 2000).
Whereas an increase in the yield of spring wheat with 8-10% was observed when water was no
limiting; similarly, a cotton crop exposed to free–air CO2 enrichment (FACE) was stimulated and
show increased about 48 % of harvestable yield and 37 % of biomass under elevated (550 ppm)
[CO2 ] level (Easterling and Apps, 2005). The difference in responses in different ecosystems to
elevated CO2 might be due to difference in water, soil, nutrient availability and temperature
variation (Chen et al., 1996).
3.2 Responses of forest trees to climate change.
Different processes in plants or forest ecosystems and their interaction with climate variability
is complex, due to different response of physical, biological, and chemical processes. An
increase in the ambient CO2 concentration could reduce the opening of stomata required to
allow a given amount of CO2 to enter in the plant that might reduce transpiration of the trees.
These could increase the efficiency of water use by forest plants and increase productivity to
some extent (Bolin et al., 1989). Trees are capable of adjusting to a warmer climate, although
the response expected from species are different and the effect on photoinhibition and
photorespiration are more difficult to generalize (Saxe et al., 2001). As forest trees are
characterized by the C3 photosynthetic path way their productivity and demand for nutrient is
highly affected by atmospheric CO2 concentration and temperature. The total productivity
expected from trees (especially from trees with indeterminate growth) growing under elevated
CO2 is larger than estimated in crops (Lukac et al., 2010). Estimated increased production from
trees is higher than crops only achieved especially if the combination of absorption and
increased nutrient use efficiency is attained (Tylianakis et al., 2008).However, the long-term
response of forest to rising level of [CO2] is still uncertain. The current over all response of trees
is positive and results from a review of 49 papers on effects of elevated CO2 on different tree
species shows that net primary production (NPP, photosynthesis minus plant respiration) on
average increased with 23 % at an elevated CO2 concentration of 550 ppm as compared with
370 ppm (Norby et al., 2005). Whereas, enhanced in temperatures can lead to heat and more
water logging stress in bogs and cause more severe heat, drought and photo-inhibition stress
periods in temperate bog and forest ecosystems (Niinemets, 2010).
3.3 Photosynthesis and plant respiration processes.
Respiration can be highly affected by temperature (Atkin et al., 2005), and its rate is determined
by status of carbohydrate and supply of adenylate (enzyme catalyzing the conversion
processes). The sucrose content of the tissue can govern the capacity of mitochondrial
respiration (Farrar & Williams, 1991), and mitochondrial respiration plays a great role in growth
and survival of plants (Atkin et al., 2005). One would expect at least a short period increases in
respiration rate from parts of plants those show increased growth and assimilation due to
elevated [CO2], that is source leaves, individual sink tissue (fruit, seed, steam, root etc.) and
total sink tissue. Nevertheless, a few reports concluded that long-term treatment with
increased concentration of CO2 resulted in declined whole-plant respiration (Farrar & Williams,
1991). Whereas, result of a few other experiments show that a short-term increase in
temperature on plants growing in cold climate areas such as Arctic have resulted in greater
potential impact on plant respiration than in plants growing in warmer areas ( tropics) (Atkin &
Tjoelker, 2003). One of the reasons might be that tropical plants more acclimate to higher
temperatures than the Arctic cold area plants.
Figure 5(a) Changes in the rate of crop development as a function of temperature, Source: modified
from Heidorn (2003). The three curves in the Figure indicate that optimal temperature range differs and
depends on the species and crop type.
Figure 5(b) Changes in the rate of photosynthesis and respiration of (C3) crops as a function of
temperature (Porter & Semenov, 2005). Photosynthesis is a process, undertaken in green plant cells to
produce sugar molecules, by the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere, sun light energy and water, and
during the process oxygen released. Whereas, respiration is a process of oxidation of food or breakdown
of sugars and production of energy for maintenance, reproduction, and growth etc., which is undertaken
in all living organisms at day and night time by the uptake of O2 and release of CO2 and energy.
Respiration is necessary for many processes in living organisms; for instance, it is crucial for
maintenance of photosynthesis activity, mainly because of the energy demands of sucrose
synthesis. Moreover, it plays a role in determining the carbon budget of individual plants and
the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere; it contributes up to 65% of the total CO2 released
to the atmosphere (Atkin et al., 2005).
For a majority of plants as shown in Figure 5(a), growth in relation to temperature at initial
stage on base (low) temperature, there is no active plant growth. As temperature increase
rapid and optimal growth will follow at (stage 2 and stage 3) respectively, then, as it reaches to
maximum tolerable temperature (stage 4) the rate remain constant or starts to decline
following rise in temperature.
The Figure in 5(b) indicates that the rates of photosynthesis and R processes initially increases
over a temperature range followed by a flat response after which it start to decrease. However,
the responses of photosynthesis and respiration differ. For example the light saturated
photosynthesis reaction rate of C3 crops such as rice and wheat is at maximum at a temperature
range of about 20-32o
C, while crop respiration increase over a temperature range of 15-40o
followed by a decline (Figure 5 (b)).
The response of plant respiration to long-term change in temperature is dependent on the level
of effects of temperature on plant development, and on other direct and interactive effects of
temperature and abiotic factors (e.g. Irradiance, nutrient availability and drought). Evidence
shows that the response of respiration to temperature is dynamic, with plant respiration often
acclimating to long-term changes in temperature. In addition, both degree of acclimation and
value of Q10 (proportional change in respiration with a 10o
C increase in temperature) vary in
response to the surrounding environment and/or the metabolic condition of the plants. There is
variability in Q10 as day and night time temperature varies (e.g. nights are increasing to a higher
extent than daytime). The Q10 of leaf R is often not always reduced in the light compared with
the Q10 of leaf R in dark, and Q10 values are often lower in water-stressed plants than in their
fully- watered counterparts, root and leaves also differ in their Q10 values as upper and lower
canopy leaves. Q10 of both root and leaf R dark generally decreased as temperature increased.
Rise in [CO2] does not show a predictable, systematic effect on Q10 of dark R of stems root or
leaves. Different studies show a variation in the effect of rise atmospheric [CO2] on Q10 value of
R above ground plant parts in dark condition, but the overall result indicate that elevated [CO2]
has little impact on the average Q10 values (Atkim et al., 2005). However, Q10 dark R is greater in
some plants grown under elevated [CO2] for e.g. According to study of Shapiro et al., (2004)
both Q10 light and Q10 dark increased in leaves R of Xanthium strumarium. In addition, Zha et al.,
(2001) shows Q10 value of Pinus sylvestris increased in late stage of needle expansion.
Nevertheless, Zha et al., (2005) found that; ‘there is no a statically significant variation in the
value of Q10 for stem respiration under different conditions (in elevated [CO2], elevated
temperature, or the combination of elevated [CO2] and temperature relative to the ambient
treatment. Indicating that all treatments did not significantly alter the respiratory responses of
the stem of Scots pine to stem temperature’ and in his all treatments Q10 value were much
lower in the growing season than in the non-growing season. However, there has been a
variation in different literatures results; Overall, Atkim et al (2005) suggests that higher [CO2]
does not on average alter the temperature sensitivity of dark R in roots, leaves or shoots.
In most plants as temperature increase with optimal range, the rate of respiration as well as the
rate of metabolism increased, because increased respiration results with higher energy
available, that means as long as nutrients are available the metabolism processes within the
plant will also increase. Following increased temperature to a certain level, the rate of
photosynthesis is also increases but not as much as respiration. That indicates the amount of
CO2 produced from increased respiration is faster than the amount of O2 released from
increased photosynthesis http://www.ehow.com/info_12002278_plant-respiration-
temperature.html [accessed 22/09/2012].
Temperature affect photosynthesis through altering the activities of enzymes, electron
transport and leaf temperature (leaf-to air vapor pressure difference) can influence the
stomatal conductance. As evaporation increases, stomata tends to close to reduce water loss
through transpiration, following this stomata closure reduction in CO2 assimilation rate occur
due to less rate of CO2 supply to chloroplast, this is indirect temperature response.
Temperature also affects photosynthetic metabolism directly showing a change in the activity of
ribulose-1,5- carboxylase oxygenase (Rubisco) processes associated with the regeneration of
Rubisco’s substrate, rubulose-1,5- bisphosphate (RuBP) through the Calvin cycle (Lloyd &
Climatic variability affects crop development and yield via linear and non-linear response to
weather variables and exceeding of well-defined crop thresholds, particularly, temperature
(Porter & Semenov, 2005). In the processes of plant growth, leaf litter fall to soil ground then
under different temperature condition various processes under going inside as well as outside
the soil surface and many processes and reactions directly affected by rising temperature,
decomposition, weathering and mass flow diffusion etc. may hasten in the soil under optimum
soil moisture condition. At low temperatures, the reaction processes become slower,
temperature can indirectly affect plant morphology, growth, roots turn over etc., if it is both
beyond and under the optimum level for the plants. In addition, soil moisture, availability of
nutrient and minerals together with other processes will play an important role in plant growth
and development (see Figure 6).
Figure 6 Direct and indirect effects of a rise in temperature on different component processes in plant
and in the soil (Lukac et al., 2010).
Enhanced CO2 and anthropogenic Nitrogen can directly increase short-term plant growth rates
and change plant chemistry (C:N ratio and concentration of carbon-based compounds often
increase), these physiological changes can affect a range of biotic interactions involving plants.
As an example of plant responses, C3 plants often derive a competitive advantage following
nitrogen deposition and C4 plants can derive a competitive benefit from increasing
temperatures (Tylianakis et al., 2008). Long-term ecosystem responses to elevated CO2 may
ultimately depend on nitrogen availability to plants and on the ability of plants to use nitrogen
more efficiently under elevated [CO2] condition (Norby et al., 2001). In addition, larger supply of
photosynthesis to mycorrhizal fungi shown to occur under elevated CO2 (Lukac et al., 2010).
Nutrient up take by tree is an active process supported by enzyme activity, and is highly
dependent on temperature. Several authors claim that nutrient uptake increases with rising
temperature, but similar to enzymatic processes, the rate of uptake increases only until a
threshold temperature reached. A period of increased soil and air temperature; whether it is
gradual or rapid hot and in which stage of the growing seasons, is also an important condition
and has a potential factor in the uptake of nutrient. Because of their longevity, trees have
developed physiological mechanisms to deal with such disruption and are able to store and re -
mobilized nutrients. However, repeated seasonal stress might exhaust this capacity for nutrient
storage, with detrimental effects for tree health in the long-run (Lukac et al., 2010). Increased
decomposition rates of leaf litter could result in more readily mineralized nutrients available to
the plants, which likely would increase photosynthetic carbon gain in nutrient limited systems
(Boisvenue & Running, 2006).
Two general issues of concern are whether increases in NPP in response to rising CO2 will be
sustained if negative feedbacks through the nitrogen cycle occur, and whether decomposition
rates will change if atmospheric [CO2 ] affects the chemistry of decomposition (Norby et al.,
2001). Most of the nutrients, with some few exceptions, can be transported both upward (
xylem flow) and down wards (phloem flow) within a tree, this cycle of nutrient have shown to
be affected by heat and drought and thus influencing above ground biomass accumulation of
some elements. Such direct effect of temperature on tree physiology and metabolism are likely
to vary between species and element specific (Lukac et al., 2010).
3.4 Agriculture and climate change
Agriculture contributes to climate GHGs emission (see Chapter 2) and highly affected by change
in climate parameters. In an intensive farming, we expect high greenhouse gases emission
because of using high amount of inputs and chemicals, due to these changes of human activity
natural divers and climate change impacts varies accordingly in different part of the world.
Vulnerability to climate change depends not only on physical and biological responses but also
on socio economic characteristics. Low- income population especially those who cultivate crops
under rain fed and non- irrigated agriculture systems in dry lands, arid and semi-arid areas
highly affected by severe hard ship due to climate change (Grasty, 1999).
3.4.1 Climate variables and productivity
According to suggestion of fourth assessment report of IPCC, (2007) The overall impacts of
higher temperatures on crop responses at the plot level, without considering changes in the
frequency of extreme events, moderate warming. (I.e. in the first half of this 21st
benefit in crop and pasture productivity in temperate regions, while it may reduce productivity
in tropical and semi-arid regions. Modelling studies indicate small beneficial effect in temperate
corresponds to local mean temperature increases in 1-3o
C with association of an increased in
CO2 and rainfall changes. In contrast, models show that tropical regions show a negative yield
impacts for major crops with moderate rise in temperature (1-2o
C), but further warming
projected in all regions in the end of twenty-first century results in the increased on negative
impacts (Tubiello et al., 2008).
Due to impacts of climate change, agricultural productivity directly affected in developed and
developing world (Alexandrov & Hoogenboom, 2000). Climate plays a major role in determining
the yield level by increasing or reducing in global perspective from temperate to tropics. Many
experiments show that CO2 is a limiting factor, in which higher concentration of CO2 enhances
photosynthesis and crop growth, modifying water and nutrient cycles (Tubiello et al., 2008),
these responses found to hold even for plants grown under different stressful conditions.
Despite related to generalization of the law of `limiting factors´ when other environmental
factors such as water shortage, less light, shortage or excess of minerals, very high or very low
temperature limit yield, then CO2 concentration will have little or no effect. Nevertheless, in
certain stressful environments the relative photosynthetic response of plants to CO2 enrichment
is actually increased (Bolin et al., 1989).
For most crops, growing under elevated CO2 conditions both quality and total yield shows
improved (more ear of plant per m2
). The increased CO2 induce and makes an increase in the
grain weight and according to the observation, it was greater under average phosphorus
treatment compared to higher phosphorus level. This influence of CO2 and phosphorus supply
was attributed to increase in the number of cells within endosperm, which is the result of
enhanced rate of cell division during grain development or by greater amount of grain filling
during ripening phase (Uprety et al., 2010). However, it has also been shown that elevated CO2
concentrations may have negative effects on the grain quality from wheat in terms of protein
content (Pleijel and Uddling, 2012), it alters wheat grain lipids and doubled the number of
mitochondria in wheat leaves, lower seed nitrogen concentration and decreases grain and
flower protein (Qaderi & Reid, 2009).
3.4.2 Direct effects of climate change on food crops
Food production can be negatively or positively affected following variation in weather patterns
(short winter, long summer, earlier spring) and other extreme weather events such as drought (
change in amount and timing of precipitation), flooding, etc. In addition, illegal deforestation
can cause reduction in crop production, due to its effect on environmental services such as crop
pollination, genetic resources, clean air and water supply, soil fertility and erosion, as well as
pests and pathogen control (Cerri et al., 2007).
3.4.3 Indirect effect of temperature
Several studies shown that soil warming can affect availability of nutrient, increase soil N
mineralization and nitrate leaching, organic matter decomposition, and a slight temperature
increase can produce a significant enhancement of activities. An increase in N mineralization in
soil can be predicted under favourable moisture conditions and substrate availability, mainly in
those ecosystems where temperature is a limiting factor, which leads to increased NPP (net
primary production), increased N demand and ultimately to decrease N availability in the soil.
An increasing temperature will also speed up the release of nutrients locked up in organic soil
fraction and minerals, while decreasing soil moisture may limit this process. A higher rate of
weathering of nutrient rich rocks generally leads to higher base saturation of the soil and
maintain higher soil pH, both characteristics favourable to plant growth. While elevated CO2 not
thought to have a direct effect on weathering (Lukac et al., 2010).
Plant species distribution limited not only by their absolute limits of survival, but also through
competition within species, which species acclimate and grow better in a given climate. In the
context of population extinction, it is important to consider the effects during climate events.
Temporal variability in environment commonly believed to increase the probability of
population extinction, particularly if environmental variability increases due to climate change.
Some evidence suggest that climate change already drives the extinction of rear edge plant
populations leading to a distribution with a ´trailing` edge. Some desert trees like Aloe
dichotoma in southern Africa the trailing edge of the range, making populations showed
negative demographic rates, and strongly positive rates observed at the leading edge of the
range making population growth rate sensitive and use full indicator of incipient change in
range (Thuiller et al., 2008).
3.4.4 Impacts of temperature × [CO2] interaction on plant processes
There are many processes in plant growth, affected by interaction of both enhanced
temperature and carbon dioxide, in processes that determine carbon balance in the shorter
term, from the long time scales of development and growth, which together lead to
accumulation of biomass and yield. The two main reasons to expect progressively increasing
CO2 responsiveness of plant carbon balance at higher temperatures are 1) the decreased ratio
of photosynthesis to photorespiration and 2) the decreased ratio of gross photosynthesis to
dark respiration in warmer conditions (Morison & Lawlor, 1999).
The effect of elevated CO2 on photosynthetic reactions are more pronounced in high
temperature, e.g. around 20o
C than at 10o
C. Some predictions indicate that future increase in
temperature may increase root mortality more in N-rich soils in temperate forests than in N-
poor soils in boreal forests areas with important implications for the cycling between plant and
soil (Lukac et al., 2010). Some (unpublished) studies found that changes in activation state and
catalytic constant occur due to both CO2 and temperature, and there were an interaction, which
affected the photosynthetic rate demonstrating the underlying complexity of the
photosynthetic regulation mechanisms (Morison & Lawlor, 1999).
To sum up, environmental change has an impact on growth rate of individual trees and have a
cumulative effect on different interactions and processes inside the forest and has the ability to
change the amount of living materials in the forest ecosystem as a whole (Lukac et al., 2010).
Temperature is one of the decisive factors in forming an effect on growth and productivity by
accelerating the bud burst (BB), flowering, and stems elongation during spring and then extend
growing season, and it is one of the major factors controlling species distribution. For instance,
the predicted warming of 2- 6o
C by 2100 in north temperate forest regions could have
substantial impacts on growth and species composition (Gunderson, 2012).
Increasing temperatures mostly associate with elevated CO2, vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and
drought. Change in temperature will interact with other factors to form an effect; for e.g.
nitrogen fixing nodule bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi and many other processes influenced by rising
temperature. The long-term responses of climate change under higher CO2 concentration,
temperature and precipitation may differ from short-term effects because of the feedbacks
involving nutrient cycling (Chen, 1994). ‘Tree seedlings exposed in elevated [CO2] over time
period of less than 1 year resulted in enhanced rate of photosynthesis, decreased in respiration
and increased growth, with little increased in leaf area and small variation in carbon allocation.
Exposure of woody species in elevated CO2 over long time-period may result with higher rates
of photosynthesis, but net carbon accumulation may not necessarily increase if CO2 release
from soil respiration increases’ (Luxmoore et al., 1993).
Environmental shift affects the extent of plant diseases and insect pests both the presently
occurrence and infestation, introduced of the new species. Following these changes, a number
of diseases, pests and weeds, preventing actions needed to reduce the effects on human health
and ecosystems (Roos et al., 2010).
Different chemical, biological and physical processes in earth systems need various temperature
ranges; usually moderate and optimal temperature (for each processes) are essential for normal
activities within the systems, a certain rise or lower from moderate temperature will affect
many activities within the processes.
4. Adaptation Measures for Climate Change
4.1 General overview
According to dictionaries the term adaptation refers to make more suitable (to fit some
purpose) by modifying (or altering) and it indicates both the process of adapting and the
condition of being adapted. In ecology, adaptation indicates change in an organism´s
physiology, behavior or other characteristics that increase the fitness to the environment,
related to genetic changes. In social science, cultural adaptation refers to adjustment by
individuals and to the collective behavior of socio-economic systems. Cultural adaptation also
include changes in cognitions (e.g. risk perceptions), which are socially constructed and
negotiated (Grothmann & Patt, 2003). Adaptation to climate change refers both making use of
1) the ecological adaptation and its relation to the environment by ecosystem management and
2) the change in social behavior to reduce the impacts of climate change. Thus, adaptation to
climate change is the process through which people reduce the adverse effects of climate on
their health and well-being, and take advantage of the opportunities that their climatic
environment provides (Smit et al., 2000; Glick et al., 2009).
The term “adaptation” has been used since the early 1990´s in the climate change context. No
specific single definition is given to it, but most definitions reflect that climate adaptation
involves “initiatives and measures to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems
against actual or expected climate change effects” (Glick et al., 2009). Another definition of
adaptation involves adjustment to enhance the viability of social and economic activities and to
reduce their vulnerability to climate, including its current variability and extreme events as well
as long-term climate changes (Smit et al., 2000). According to Grothmann & Patt, (2003), the
action taken by people to avoid impacts or to be benefit from opportunities associated with
climate change, we call this adaptation.
Natural resource conservationist propose the following definition “climate change adaptation
for natural systems is a management strategy that involves identification, preparation for, and
responses to expected climate change in order to promote ecological resilience, maintain
ecological function, and provide necessary elements to support biodiversity and sustainable
ecosystem services”. In general the term climate change adaptation can be concluded by the
following phrases; “climate change safe guards”, “preparing for warming world”, “protecting
wild life and natural resource from warm” and “coping mechanisms”(Glick et al, 2009).
4.1.2 Importance of adaptation
Why do we need adaptation? Adaptation is important in the climate change issue in two ways;
one relating to the assessment of impacts and vulnerabilities, the other is to the development
and evaluation of response options (Grothmann & Patt, 2003). The danger and seriousness of
climate change can be changed or reduced through practicing different kinds of adaptation
measures, and adaptation is crucial in policymaking and planning strategies. During planning,
considering different weather events and climate variables and collecting required information
is important to prepare in advance and to decide the kind of measures, how and under what
conditions adaptation practices can be performed (Smit et al., 2000). Depending on degree of
spontaneity, either adaptation can effectively planned or performed autonomously. Planned
adaptations largely related with public agencies and autonomous adaptation with private
sectors. Planned adaptation increases adaptive capacity by mobilizing institutions and policies
to establish or strengthen conditions that are favourable to effective adaptation and investment
in new technologies and infrastructures. Autonomous adaptation is the ongoing
implementation of existing technologies and knowledge in response to changes in climate
experiences (Rahman, 2008).
Adaptation measures can take technological, economic, legal and institutional forms. For both
assessment and implementation of adaptation, it is important to know the form of adaptation
and the condition under which it might expect to occur (Smit et al., 2000). Both community and
individual have to deal with different extremes or weather events like flood, storms and
drought. Autonomous adaptations are useful, especially for smallholder farmers, which includes
using resistance varieties and different inputs, changing the rate of application of fertilizer to
approve quality of agricultural products. Using different water management practices, e.g. in
low rainfall areas, improving water-holding capacity of the soil and collecting water to conserve
moisture of the soil, making physical soil and water conservation structures, and changing the
amount and timing of irrigation (see also Table 3). In area where there is excess rainfall,
preventing logging and leaching of nutrient by erosion. Using weather forecast information to
reduce the risk of climate events, such as, early warning about drought or outbreak of disease
and pest in every season. Adjusting timing of cultural practices, diversification (creating more
income mechanism from forestry, agriculture, etc.) e.g. poultry production, beekeeping,
livestock’s fattening, and other small agro-industries activities.
Using technical options include many forms of land use, land use changes, new cultivation
techniques. Planned approach must include appropriate incentive structures, such as payment
for environment services, in a way that can expand the options for indigenous people and poor
communities to be beneficial in both mitigation and adaptation (Rahman, 2008).
Adaptation includes different actions throughout society, individuals, groups and governments,
which can be manifested and motivated by different factors, through actions of individuals,
organizations to meet their goals, can be taken by government to protect the citizens, or by
individual for their own benefit (Adger et al., 2005).
Adaptation to climate variability aims to reduce vulnerability or increase resilience (improving
ability to tackle and recover quickly from observed or expected climate change difficulties and
weather events). Adaptation of physical, ecological and human systems include a change in
social and environmental processes, and practices, enabling reduce potential damage or finding
new opportunities. Adaptation includes anticipatory and reactive actions, to expected change in
temperature and climate variations and extremes. In practice, it should be on-going processes,
which reflect many stresses. For example, crop and livelihood diversification, seasonal climate
forecasting, and many activities including community based disaster risk reduction, water
storage, and supplementary irrigation etc. Individuals undertake some adaptation measures and
others may be planned and implemented by government on behalf of the society. In some
cases, it is expensive to implement adaptation measures (Adger et al., 2007).
4.1.3 Dimension of adaptation
According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (2007), climate
change adaptation will be necessary in a variety of ecosystems, such as crops, livestock,
grasslands, forestry and woodlands, inland waters etc., and adaptation measures can differ
according to several dimensions: (A) by spatial scale; local, regional and national, (B) by sectors;
water resources, agriculture, tourism, and public health, etc, (C) By the type of actions; physical,
technological, investment, regulatory and market, (D) practices by stakeholders; national,
government, private sector, local communities, NGOs, and donors, (E) by climatic zone; arid
land, dry land, arctic, floodplain or mountains etc and (F) by the income level; developed,
middle and least developing countries. It also differs by the combination of these and other
categories. From a temporal scale, adaptation viewed at three levels, which include current
variability (learning from past adaptations to historical climate), observed medium and long-
term trends in climate and anticipatory planning in response to model-based scenarios of long-
term climate change. The research on vulnerability and adaptive capacity shows that some
dimensions are generic, while others are specific to particular climate change impacts. Generic
factors include education, income, health, and indicators specific to an impact such as drought
or floods and may be relate to institution knowledge and/or technology. Technology play an
important role in adapting to climate variability, for example seed improvement through plant
breeding, cooling systems and other technologies and engineering solution are able to lead to
improvement of the outcome and ability to cope with climate change conditions (Adger et al.,
In regions where water resources are already scarce and likely to become increasingly so due to
high demand by growing human population, the impact of climate change become serious on
river and stream ecosystems. Furthermore, humans have made changes in some of rivers and
streams, because of a number of factors including construction of dams, water diversions for
agriculture and other structures, destruction of riparian vegetation and pollution of water, etc.
has significantly reduced the rivers and streams resistance capacity and their resilience to the
impacts of climate change (Glick et al., 2009).
4.1.4 Steps in adaptation
Whatever the level of technologies that are available, its application is likely to be a more
successive process rather than an on and off activity (Figure 7). Stalker (2006) suggested the
successive implementation to be conducted in the following four main steps. Firstly, adaptation
measures needs to collect, interpret necessary information, and forming awareness. Secondly,
assessing and formulating different adaptation options and finding or assigning stakeholders
will be the next step in planning before implementing the options. It needs to design in
appropriate way, and should be not only technically feasible but also is consistent with the
country´s development objectives as well as some key policy criteria. The technology needs to
be reasonably cost effective, environmentally sustainable, culturally compatible, and socially
acceptable. The third step is implementing actively supported by effective institutions, from
national organizations up to individual communities. Finally, the technologies, which are already
available needs to monitor, evaluate, follow up and make them more effective, and modified.
Figure 7 Steps in planned adaptation to climate change, modified from (Stalker, ed., 2006).
For the purpose of mitigation, transferring technologies (ideas or equipment) from developed
country to developing countries is necessary. However, technologies for adaptation differ from
those for mitigation, because adaptation is not only concentrated in one sector, but also
dispersed across all socio-economic sectors including agriculture, water, health, and
infrastructure, so in a number of respects adaptation is divers and more complex than
mitigation (Stalker, 2006).
Adaptation measures can be site specific and target oriented, but if it is not properly planned
and performed, it may cause a negative impact for the poorest people and those with insecure
access to land. Similarly, some adaptation actions may cause a competition of resource; for
example, to increase plant productivity we may need to use high amount of water for irrigation,
and this may affect those who have no other alternative or access to irrigation schemes. Some
adaptation measures may increase the demand of land that affects land less or small
landowners, by making the price of the land higher. Such potential outcomes make adaptation
complex and variable (Rahman, 2008). In addition, adaptation measures should be less capital
intensive and more suitable to small scale interventions that needs to be more flexible and
adaptable to local community and may therefore be more socially and legally accepted.
However, as any type of technologies, there is always a risk that adaptation measures will be
more accessible to rich communities. Therefore, Policy makers need to ensure that new forms
of adaptation do not increase inequality, but rather contribute to a reduction in poverty
(Stalker, ed., 2006).
4.1.5 Evaluation of adaptation
According to Preston et al (2010), it is important to evaluate adaptation processes during
implementation phase, (see Figure 7) mainly due to the following reasons. a) Ensuring the
community and natural vulnerability, since one of the main aim of climate adaptation is
reduction of human and natural systems vulnerability (to avoid or reduce the effect of
dangerous climate change). In practice, the evaluation has to ensure the social, economic and
environmental benefits of adaptation policies and measures outweigh the costs and additional
approving the avoidance of negative externality. b) Approving social learning and adaptive
management, institutions can identify effective, efficient, and equitable policies and measures,
checking the success or failure of different adaptation initiatives, getting a chance of learning by
evaluating adaptation, transferring knowledge and sharing experiences. c) needs of
accountability in an evidence-based policy environment, the investment in adaptation and the
outcomes should be transparent for every aspects of adaptation process, risk assessment; it can
be reform of planning policy, or infrastructure upgrades.
4.2 Adaptation options
So far, only limited adaptation measures considering climate change has been undertaken, in
both developed and developing countries. These adaptation measures undertaken by sectors
are using different technologies to prevent environmental damages (Adger et al., 2007). In
Table 2, examples of possible adaptation measures in agriculture, forestry, energy and
recreation sectors, in response to change in the mean temperature and precipitation level in
different seasons are presented. In many cases, people adapt to climate change by changing
their behaviours, changing their occupation, by moving to different location, or often they may
use different forms of technologies. These can either be “hard” technologies; such as using new
irrigation systems, drought resistant crop varieties, new introduced insect and pest resistance
varieties and using the result of other new breeding techniques. For e.g. using products from
techniques of plant biotechnology and genetic modification, (a method which discovers specific
gene, how they work, and identify traits and transfer gene where they are needed) or “soft”
technologies; for instance, insurances, other services and crop rotation or they could use the
combination of hard and soft (Stalker, 2006).
Table 2 Adaptation options implemented by private and public sectors, modified from (Mendolsohn,
Sectors Public or Private Adaptation measures
Agriculture Private Alter crop species, change timing of agricultural or cultural
practices, using Irrigation
Public Plant breeding /producing improved varieties
Sea level Private Depreciate vulnerable buildings
Public Sea wall as needed, beach enrichment
Forestry Private Harvest trees which are vulnerable, Planting new trees, intensify
Energy Private Cool building designs, change in insulation, use new cooling
Public using new building codes
Water Private Working on Water efficiency
Public Shift water to high value uses, Collecting & storing water, flood
Biodiversity Public Moving endangered species, managing landscapes,
Planting more adapted species
Aesthetics Private Behavioral adaptation (e.g., recreation)
Public educate community about adaptive options/ awareness
4.3 Private adaptations
Private adaptation is normally a behavioural response by a company, or private person to an
environmental change that primarily is for his/her own benefit, but might be linked to societal
benefits. The likeliness of private adaptations will decrease with uncertainty about the future
benefits of adaptation and with uncertainty about the costs. In order to predict future benefits
individual needs not only to predict the local future climate change and understand what type
of impact it will have, but also what kind of actions that potentially can be taken to counteract
the effects. However, it will be difficult for private persons to make prediction and it is not easy
to reach knowledge and information from few experts in the world to the majority of
individuals, especially to those poor at rural level (Mendelsohn, 2000). Practicing adaptation
measure to climate change often means approving good sustainable development (Simoes,
Adaptation can be short run or long run, using fixed capital to make some adjustment can form
a limited behavioural change in short run; whereas, in long run all changes can be made in
factories, buildings, and transportation system etc. Behavioural adaptation of communities in
flood- prone areas whenever the risk of an increased flooding damage due to climate change
occurred protecting for instance by building higher houses to reduce the damage of flood might
be used as a solution (Grothmann & Patt, 2003).
Many study suggest that farmers can readily adapt to changes in the mean temperature, and if
not, also farms can be dramatically damaged by increases in inter annual variations. Examples
of adaptations to slightly warming condition are; plantation of more suitable and warm loving
crops (Figure 8), sowing or planting earlier, double cropping, using irrigation, water harvest etc.
However, if the variation of warm and cool is exchanging in short period of few years, then,
there will be no single crop appropriate for all out comes (Mendelsohn, 2000).
Different crops prefer different climates, some cooler, and others warmer; for example, wheat
and barley prefer cool climate, maize prefer moderately warm and wet environments and many
fruits, some root crops and vegetables prefer warmer condition.
Figure 8 Farmer’s opportunity, in crop choice adaptation, under change in temperature condition,
adapted from (Mendelsohn, 2000).
As climate becomes warmer and wetter farmers would try to adjust their choices to the new
weather conditions (Fig. 8). Farms in the areas of wheat regions may switch to maize, farms in
maize regions could possibly switch to some fruit crops and farms in the warmest fruit region
potentially have a choice of growing many subtropical crops. These mechanisms of efficient
adaptations can reduce the damage that takes place following climate change. If farmers
continue to produce the same crop in increased warming condition, the result could be highly
losses in production. To prepare in advance and use different options, reaching weather
information, collecting climate data and improving awareness of the rural poor individual
farmers and the whole community is important. Through switching crops, which are more
suitable to new climate condition farmers are able to reduce potential damages, and in some
cases, they might get a chance to be beneficial for e.g. by producing some cash crops, which are
suitable to the changing condition.
Spontaneous adaptations considered those, which are undertaken by private sectors, invariably
in reactive response after initial impacts are manifest to climatic stimuli without direct
intervention of public agency (Grothmann & Patt, 2003). According to Mendelsohn (2000),
private adaptation will tend to be efficient because decision makers support the cost and
rewards. Private decision-makers can leave to his own devices to make an efficient choice, there
is no government policy required. However, there should be some technical advice and support,
guiding private adaptations to be more efficient. In addition, government will be help full if
there are externalities in relation to adaptation by encouraging individuals to incorporate the
externalities in to their decision-making mechanisms. Collecting and dispersing of future climate
would be very useful for farmers or investors who are going to plan to work in short run
growing of annual crops, as well as long run for example working on forestry. The foresters can
determine the type of tree species, which is suitable and will resist the coming environmental
and climatic condition.
4.5 Adaptation strategies for agriculture
Agriculture is highly sensitive to even minor climate variations, and have an impact on
agricultural output even for a single growing season, so ongoing climate change can affect long-
term agricultural productivity and food security (Stalker, 2006). Climate change impacts on
crops affect human health, largely through potential for mal nutrition and as a result, few
studies have estimated millions of peoples are at risk of hunger (Warren, 2011).
Adaptation is efficient if cost of making efforts is less than the resulting benefits Joint
adaptations will be beneficiary only if it is through governmental actions, In addition, political
forces are likely encouraged if governments are engaged in inefficient adaptation behaviour,
thus, it is not at all clear whether efficient levels of joint adaptation will be undertaken
Table 3 Example of adaptation options in agriculture, modified from (Stalked, ed., 2006).The practices,
mentioned here are cultural practices; which do not need high capital and most of the options can be
easily applicable by individual or group of farmers who are vulnerable to climate change.
Strategy Adaptation options
Using different crops Producing new varieties
Physical land improvement to
control soil erosion,
improving water holding
capacity of the soil
Forming a small catchment for agricultural activities, Covering
waterways using grass to protect from runoff, making the land
surface rough, making windbreaks and hedge raw in farm fields,
using cut off drain, check dams, grass strip, and tillage farming.
Improve water use and
Using plastics for canal lines, using ground water, collecting and
using run off, focus irrigating in peak growth stage, using water
save irrigation system e.g., drip irrigation, use slightly salty water
where it is possible.
Making a change in cultural
practices in order to maintain
nutrient and soil
Using biological conservation measures, such as mulching, crop
rotation, tillage farming, double cropping (mixed farming), alley
Adjusting timing of different
lowering the plant densities, early planting or sowing to offset
moisture stress during warmer condition
Since population increment and industrialization, leads the world to become warmer, we have
to perform activities by conserving and utilizing natural resources efficiently by approving
sustainable development and try to protect resources and ecosystem services. Our actions of
adaptation to climate change should potentially be applicable according to locations and
situations of extreme events, and we should target not only livelihoods and farming activity of
individual households, but also solving problems in a wider range, working on reduction of
poverty and approving food security. We have to increase agricultural food production and
overall productivity in intensive way to feed and satisfy the need of increased population.
Agricultural systems are flexible, if farmers get correct information, tools, technical advice and
support, they should be able to practice many of the options. However, it might be difficult if
the soil quality is poor (less fertile in nutrient), if there is inadequate amount of water or
shortage of capital funds for investment, or if farmers face institutional or cultural barriers
(Stalker, 2006). In such case, government has to provide new technologies and knowledge with
technical and economic support.
Agricultural cropping systems in relation to climate change adaptation require focusing on
problem solving of both excess water due to high intensity and lack of water due to extended
drought periods (FAO, 2007). For both cases, it is necessary to improve soil structure and water
holding capacity of the soil.
The benefits from research widely shared and combined between local (traditional), modern
techniques of genetic crop improvement and through improved management practice, using
irrigation, and other inputs, leads to current yield improvement in some part of the world.
Moreover, our technology should consider satisfying the interests of whole sectors,
(stakeholders, individual farmers, plant breeders, local communities, and other sectors).
Although we have new technologies, which are suitable for local conditions, for poor farmers
sometimes it is difficult to adapt, with small farm sizes and limited access to credit, they may
have neither the ability nor the possibility to invest in new technology (Stalker, ed., 2006).
When practicing adaptation there is a cross-regional interaction between different regions, the
mechanism of climate change impact in one region can directly affect the other, the loss of
human or natural capital of one region affect human or natural capital in another region, or
indirectly through mitigation or adaptation measures practiced in one region can have a
consequence for another. For example, agricultural yield reduction of a certain region can cause
an increase in the demand of imported food products from another area these potentially affect
the price of food crop products globally (Warren, 2011).
Changes in land use and land cover have large impact on climate change both locally and
globally. For example, because of deforestation, surface albedo changed and the amount of
carbon released from the soil and deforested vegetation also increased. In addition, forests like
Amazon recycle their water, thus, following forest loss, we may end up with drying. Climate
change mitigation could involve significant reduction in deforestation, since it is regarded as the
most cost effective way of reducing emission, politically there is a consideration of doing that in
REDD projects (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) (Warren, 2011).
However, human adaptation to climate change impacts might cause shift in agriculture from dry
area to forest areas, these can create additional impact on natural ecosystems.
In approving food security, trees and shrubs in agro-forestry and farming systems can play a
significant role in mitigating the impacts of extreme events (FAO, 2007). On the other hand,
afforestation can also contribute to climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration,
causing positive or negative implications for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Creating
forests in areas where there is non-forest biodiversity using non-native tree species can have a
negative impact on native or local biodiversity. Beyond that, it might not succeed because of the
soil and other climatic factors may not be suitable for planting non-native tree species. Mostly
focusing on indigenous or local native trees in previously degraded or deforested areas will be
beneficial for biodiversity and ecosystem services to enhance connectivity in forest ecosystems.
However, it is important to notice that afforestation is a slowly process and it will therefore take
a long time before a deforested area in terms of carbon storage can be compensated for by
afforestation (Warren, 2011).
4. 6 Tools in planning adaptation
Adaptation strategies can work in two ways, by reducing vulnerability (susceptibility) to
changing condition, or by increasing resiliency (to recovery) by reducing suffering during and
immediately after the events (Bedsworth & Hanak, 2010). Below in Table 4 we can see the
summaries of adaptation measures for some consideration of changes and reflecting their
activities using and sharing their accumulated experience with better coordination.
4.7 Adaptation in terms of some agro ecological aspects
Human being changes the environment by using different agricultural production techniques,
through these technologies; there is modification and improvement in adaptation. Since
adaptation includes a quantitative complex feature of an organism, involving many traits such
as developmental, morphological (adventitious or tap root system in plant), behavioral,
physiological (accumulation of some chemical compounds), reproductive (prolonged seed
viability), etc. In climate, warming condition, for example, for spring crops we may need to sow
earlier, that makes crops to increase yield potential by reducing or avoiding chances from the
stress factor and lengthening the growing season. If other conditions are in optimum level for
the production, early crop cultivars or early sowing might also able to reduce the irrigation
required amount of water (Ulukan, 2008).
4.8 Sustainable adaptation measures
The physical impacts of climate change in existing programs and activities should consider
widely vulnerability to climate change and these activities are necessary in adaptation to
contribute in poverty reduction.
Organization and development agencies should focus on risk reduction works, e.g. early
warning and moving of people from danger areas. The risks are varying from place to place and
between different groups, measures targeted at risks might be very specific to a particular
situation. For instance, if we take agricultural productivity reduction caused by climate change
stress could potentially targeted to solve through adaptation measures, which will focus in
changing cropping pattern techniques and using different modern technologies (Eriksen &
O´Brien, 2007). Since different outcomes and adaptation, responses in a certain group may
possibly affect the vulnerability context of some other groups somewhere else and adaptation
responses might affect socio- environmental transformations, sustainable adaptation (see Table
5) is therefore a global environmental issue (Eriksen, 2009). In planning adaptation and
decision-making processes, institutions have to focus on low risk knowledge, on capacity
building measures and specific actions to reduce vulnerability, and the critical consideration is
not only planning but also implementation of the adaptation processes.
Table 4 Different tools used in planning and practicing adaptation options to climate change, source
(Bedsworth & Hanak, 2010)
Area Structural tools Planning or regulatory tools Response tools Market based tools
Pre-emptive protection of
areas to anticipate future
(e.g. hatcheries for
with extinction in
“ smart growth”
land use planning &
Stricter emissions standards
(overall and for peak
episodes), new emission
(e.g. heat, fire, etc.),
forming a Public
campaigns ( e.g. air
New ground and
surface water storage
making canal around
Stricter building and
plumbing codes, new
reservoir operation rules,
ground water basin
program ( e. g.,
rationing of water
water marketing &
through water pricing
Levee and reservoir
Restrictions on floodplain
new reservoir operation
Risk- based insurance
Coastal protection (e.g.,
systems for low-lying
Stricter building and zoning
codes, relocation of
structures to allow in ward
migration of coastal lines,
Flood and coastal
Risk based insurance
Tabel 5 Potential adaptation measures, implemented for poverty reduction, modified from
Eriksen & O’Brien (2007).
Vulnerability - poverty links Sustainable adaptation measures
Climate change and variability effect on
Crop diversification, planting wind
breaks, national agricultural insurance
Improvements of early warnings and
Income reduction, threatening the poor
due to drought and flood, heat waves
and cyclones in urban and rural areas,
melting of glaciers etc.
Water conservation, construction of
wells, and flood controlling etc.
Impacts on energy supply Improve local renewable energy
Damage and shortage of social
Making Infrastructure and housing
more climate resilient
Sanitation problem due to flooding,
occurrence & spread of disease
Making a better health facilities to
the poor people
Multi activity and multi locality Multi activity and multi locality
Migration with cattle to access grazing Improve services along livestock
migration routes ensure rights to
drought grazing areas
An adjustment of crop types Focusing of conservation and
research on local strain crop varieties
Forming a social networks & additional
Approve equitable access to
important adaptation resources e.g.
water, focusing and investing on local
Construction of drought water sources
and small scale irrigation
Planting indigenous trees and
enhances flexible drought access to
Use of forest products Improve value adding and processing
of local forest products
During flood and drought, especially poor people are more vulnerable, so some adaptation
measures e.g. improvement of infrastructure, and water use, etc., have good contribution in
coping strategies. The adaptive capacity linkage between vulnerability and poverty emphasizes
the importance of multi activity and multi locality in the ways in which people seek to secure
well-being. In order to reduce vulnerability of especially the rural poor community, our
adaptation measures have to target on the multiple sectors and different fields in which people
are interested to participate. In some cases, sustainable adaptation measures need
consideration and a support from civil society by strengthening collective management of the
resources that are very important for local coping and adaptive strategies. Furthermore, for
sustainable adaptation in some places it is practiced that democratically elected peace
committee play a role in preventing violence, loss of possessions to maintain resources (Eriksen
& O´Brien, 2007).
4.9 Partnerships in practicing adaptation and mitigation for poor rural people
A broad range of emergent adaptation policy development evidences the rapid development of
adaptation measures and strategies to address climate variability. At international level,
different adaptation finance mechanisms established by UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, more
specifically including Global Environment Trust Fund, Special Climate Change Fund, Least
Developed Countries Fund, and Adaptation Fund; the first institutional adaptation plan has
emerged rapidly from developed nations over the past six years, particularly at the state or
province and local government or municipal scale (Preston et al., 2010).
Challenge of climate change requires coordinated action and united support of the international
community as a whole. International organizations such as, IFAD, FAO, WFP and other
development agencies can bring their collective resource with their knowledge to support poor
smallholder farmers. For instance, they have an experience of working at field level with rural
poor people on natural resource management and flood control, soil and water conservation,
water-harvesting technologies and other projects in different part of the world, especially in
arid and semi-arid regions, based on the principle of common, but differentiated responsibility.
IFAD at local and national level have experience to respond to climate change challenges
through building capacities, by designing climate proof investments and mobilized resources.
FAO works in agriculture in general, and in forestry sector, they are technically a good source of
global information related to coping with climate change and extreme events. WFP, try to solve
food insecurity by providing support during conflict and causes of climate related disasters, and
private sectors are also the major source of funds for adaptation and mitigation (Rahman,
5. Practicing Adaptation, Key Points and Questions to be answered
5.1. How can preferable technical solutions for climate change being
applicable by societies?
There are so many questions, which still not got answers. The magnitude and rate of climate
change events throughout the world on various natural disasters are ongoing processes causing
loss of biodiversity and loss of life. Since the effects of climate change are more serious in
developing country when compared to developed country, it can be good to focus in
questioning around developing world. Weather events of climate change have different impacts
in different part of the world, since the occasions are also differ according to the locality and
regions. For instance, in some areas drought frequently caused by low amount of precipitation,
then it affects plant growth, the living habitat and ecosystem in general, in other region high
precipitation and flooding caused a disaster in human life, habitat and plantation.
As far as it has been assessed and problems identified frequently affecting specific regions, we
need to plan and practice different adaptation measures accordingly. An example of such is by
asking how people tolerate the changing conditions; especially those most affected in a society
and dependent of agricultural farming activities. For regions, which mostly are affected by
drought we have to prepare improved drought resistance varieties and properly work until it
reaches to the rural poor society. Planning on water harvesting techniques and other options,
which can be applicable by individuals (Table 3 & Table 5). The plan should also focus on poor
families’ wellbeing to improve capacity of adapting the climate change, by diversification.
However, the question is, do we have a capacity to produce an improved variety in high rate as
the quality and quantity we need? in practice the answer is no, because it is difficult to satisfy
the need of progressed in demanding and using improved varieties, since we have specific and
limited capacity, technology, equipment, capital, knowledge, and professionals etc. In addition,
the cost of this improved products are high, because it is the result of long process of many
years breeding techniques, that makes it expensive, so this area needs the participation of
individual investors, corporations, nongovernmental organization, etc. There should be an
integrated organized and planned way of solving problems in short or long term, for example
working on capacity building of the poor society. It is the most important part in practicing
adaptation measures, otherwise for poor society; they have nothing to do except accepting the
hazard. Thus, in problem solving and in practicing adaptation option it is crucial to make
ongoing evaluation every time, to see whether the strategy works in practice or not.
How people themselves solve the problem? Traditional methods should be encouraged and
organized, (by making some scientific modification spreading back to society) can help the
societies, because, it can be easier to practice and may not require long time as new
innovations (new technologies) to be acceptable by the society. Hence, our technologies
sometimes require very sophisticated equipment with high capital and labor power etc.
Moreover, focusing in sharing experience from similar communities who are practicing better
adaptation mechanisms might be also a good approach to be acceptable by the society in
developing world. According to Adger et al (2007), Even if we need to transfer technologies to
developing countries there are some potential limits as an adaptation response to climate
change, farmers prefer according to their capacity they might choose traditional modified
technologies and are mostly succeed for mitigation and adaptation in poor society. One of the
limits and barriers in adaptation of practicing the measures is cost effectiveness for actual
implement. For example, in soil conservation strategy, farmers prefer the cheapest and less
time and labour consuming practices. e.g. planting grass strips, hedge row plants, mixed
cropping, etc. rather than digging terracing or constructing cut off drain to convert or slow
down the downward collected water movement (as runoff) to protect plantation and farm land
from soil erosion, stone bund or check dam construction and some adaptation options may not
be acceptable socially or culturally.
Depending on their capacity, worldviews, values, believes and many other factors individuals,
community etc., may have different risk tolerance and preferences about adaptation measures.
Therefore, we need to increase and proceed with giving attention to increase the capacity of
practicing potential adaptation options especially of the poor countries, regions, community
and social groups in order to approve sustainable development. In one hand, the capacity of
poor people is very limited in challenging the hazard. They are unable to use inputs, improved
varieties and other mechanism to save their families from famine and hunger. Due to less
capacity, the problem become higher in developing countries, since the occurrence of change in
climate happening repeatedly, moreover, the agricultural system is local with traditional
equipment, which is highly dependent on rainfall, there is no wide intensive farming activities
and the society do not have deposited or stored crop products for consumption. Population
growth, area of cultivated agricultural land and productivity are proportionally not balanced.
This is also one of the reasons to the poor society becoming highly vulnerable to climate
change, and the problem facilitated by in proper land use and deforestation.
5.2 What will happen to poor community in high vulnerable developing
countries because of less adaptation options?
The reduction of yield from crop production in some part of the world, which occurres year
after year and not only because of nutrient availability but also due to variable climate, the
effect of drought can cause losses of some assets of the poor communities.
Below Figures 9 a, b and c, show effects of climate change variables, in the wellbeing of the
poor society in developing countries. http://www.wri.org/publication/enabling-adaptation-
climate-change [accessed 04 Feb. 2011].
Figure 9(a) Effects of drought on a poor society.
As the effects of drought increase through time, most of poor society and farmers in developing
countries become unable to resist the impacts of climate change. Farmers do not get
information about the current and future climate condition; therefore, they have few
adaptation options. As consequence, they will suffer, and forced to stop their kids from school.
They start to sell some of their farm tolls, equipment, livestock, and other important assets; as a
result, they make different change on their way of life and they are not able to improve or
return to their previous living condition, their wellbeing become declined Figure 9(a).
Figure 9(b) Resilience of farmers by using options of adaptation.
The other option of adaptation is working with organizations, by providing different programs
and technical support to the poor society. Even if drought affects the wellbeing of the society to
a certain level, we can see resilience of the poor society. E.g. by using different safety net
programs, insurance services, using stored food from government, or non-government
organizations, etc., and by using some options of adaptation measures they try to return quickly
to their previous wellbeing situation Figure 9(b).
We also have another option in which adaptation practices used properly to save the wellbeing
of the society Fig. 9(c).
Figure 9(C) Adapting the drought after using adaptation options through time.
Farmers and poor society in developing world, those who have a chance of getting adequate
information about the coming disasters or early warning information, they can in advance
prepare for it, they might have an experience how to adapt the coming climate change or
drought. For example, by saving and storing food crops for consumption to use during
occurrence of shortage, collecting and saving water to use during drought condition, using
drought resistance crop variety, using early mature crops, irrigation etc., in which the options
can differ according to the locality. That means in some way they try to save and maintain their
family well-being without declining, stay by adapting the changing condition Fig. 9(C).
5.3 Criteria for good adaptation practice
Adaptation measures at national scale, regional or local level, the policy as well as requirements
can vary from country to country, and good adaptation might need to have the following key
- The climate adaptation strategy should link (correlated) with day-to-day economic
activities. E.g. Agricultural development policy and practices of different sectors, forestry
and water management…etc.
- The action of adaptation needs to be done at multiple levels such us in national,
regional, state and local (up to small projects and individual household level).
- The action needs to be from top to down, the top policy change should focus on
approving behavioural change of the poor individual families and the community. For
instance, agricultural extension service should provide information about climate change
to the rural farmers and giving technical advice and support by forming an approach
from top government down to the spot on field of production level.
- There should be participation of local communities during planning, implementing and
giving priority of feedback information from bottom and upwards about the innovations
of adaptation successes to make them suitable for national decisions.
- People, especially those most vulnerable to climate change, must be involved in any of
adaptation processes and all steps, starting from planning up to decision making at any
level. In addition, their right should be considered in global and national governments.
Since the changing climate is not entirely in our hands, we are not exactly sure about what will
happen. Thus, it is important that our adaptation measures need to be flexible, easy and ready
to adjust to be adaptive. For example giving high attention for natural resources on which
majority of people depend, such as an ecosystem services like water for drinking and soil for
crop production (http://www.wri.org/stories/2009/03/adaptation-key-questions-and-answers)
[accessed 04 Feb. 2011].
5.4 What kinds of adaptation measures for climate change are successful in
Climate change influences forest; including soil properties, tree growth, and disturbance
regimes, rang shifts, the occurrence of diseases and insect dynamics. Change in tree growth
may be determined by how much the climate warms. Hence, higher temperature increases
may lead to growth reductions, but the plant growth may also be affected by changes in
tropospheric ozone concentrations, deposition of nitrogen, elevated CO2 levels, and land use
changes that has a combined positive or negative effect on forest growth (Evans & Perschel,
We have several options for forest management practices as adaptation to climate. Options for
adaptation vary according to geographical regions and forest type, etc., beyond that, adaptation
in commercial forest operations are very different from those practiced by communities in
developing countries that depend on forest for subsistence (Seppälä et al., eds., 2009).
We have to encourage people who are investing their capital and resources in researching for
growth rate improvement in breeding of quality tree variety (disease and drought resistance). In
addition, governments should consider and give attention in planning for a better policy that
encourage investors and providing necessary information for technical or material support,
advice and follow up, since the results of this work may take long time to achieve.
Forest and forest communities face significant impacts of climate change. Sustainable forest
management already based on different potential measures to adapt climate change presented
following the references section. Planned adaptation can reduce vulnerability for commercial
tree species at some selected sites; however many forest species will have to adapt
autonomously and the forest community needs to adjust to the results. To be successful in
adaptation we need to have sustainable forest management plans, and consider different
options as part of the risk management, so that we are able to use suitable options wherever
needed (Spittlehouse & Stewart, 2003).
Actions, which are able to conserve and restore biodiversity, are a good means of enhancing the
resilience of ecosystem to climate change, weather events and other stress factors. In many
situations, practicing an adaptation measures to climate variability and mitigate greenhouse gas
emissions especially in forest sector are compatible with efforts to tackle the associated threats
of habitat distraction, fragmentation and degradation (Seppälä et al., eds., 2009).
5.5.1 Locally practiced traditional adaptation actions in forestry
Traditionally forest management practiced by the local community for the purpose of collecting
and using medicinal plants from forest covered areas, to grow shade loving species and some
stimulant crops under forest tree. Culturally in few areas, forest cut is forbidden since they use
for beekeeping, recreation, shade for livestock, small scale use of trees and branches for
construction and fuel wood, etc. Furthermore, integrated local forest management in
developing countries include planting of fruit trees, which are edible and can used as a source of
food nutrition and a source of income for the local communities. Thus, replanting of indigenous
plant varieties is important.
Local knowledge and associated forest management practices have sustained, indigenous
communities throughout the world under changing environmental, social, and economic
condition long before the coming of formal forest science and scientific forest management.
Traditional land use practices, decision making a strong correlation and beliefs between the
community and the forest environment. The negative implication of loss of livelihood, cultural
and biological diversity and the capacity of forested landscape to provide ecosystem goods and
services remain poorly understood, largely unappreciated and undervalued by policy makers
and the general public in most part of the world (Seppälä et al., eds., 2009).
To some degree, climate change increases the frequency and severity of some disturbance, for
e.g. area that are susceptible and affected by wind blow from windstorms can be mapped and
vulnerable stands can be managed for species more resistance to wind throw. Species specific
for insect infestation or out breaks, tree stands managed to reduce the dominance of preferred
species, thinning practice, to local disturbance, such as wind or drought, to make the tree better
resistance. In some cases, the most appropriate reaction to disturbance is to allow nature to
take its course; however, in other cases societal concerns may dictate some sort of response
such as salvage logging or replanting. Forest preservation in reserves plays an important role in
preparing for climate change as well as storing carbon, old growth reserves store larger
amounts of carbon than young forests and genetic diversity will help species adapt to climate
change (Evance & Perschel, 2009).
5.5.2 Common barriers in adaptation
In different phases of adaptation, we expect barriers. In first phase, accessibility of information
(willingness and ability to use information) can be a factor. Agreements, clarity of authority and
responsibility over selected options in planning stage, availability of technologies, and needed
experts, availability of data and evaluation methodology, willingness to learn, to revisit previous
decisions, and ability to store, organize, analyze, and retrieve data in managing and evaluation
stages (Moster & Ekstrom, 2010). In addition, political, cultural, institutional, capital, ecological
and other factors can affect practices of adaptation.
The response of the forestry sector to extreme climate events and longer-term changes in
climate patterns has been reactive in most cases. The effects and adaptation decisions become
more divers and complex as we move from smaller to larger scales with an increase in the
number of stakeholders. Adaptation strategy must clearly deal with uncertainty during
projections of future climate change and their impacts. In some cases because of uncertainty
over future policy development, there is a feeling on forest owners that they are not able to
manage their forest operation in the future, thus no incentive to plan for adapting to uncertain
climate changes (Seppälä et al., eds., 2009).
It is Important to understand the socio-economic, biophysical and operational barriers to
adaptation in forest industry. For instance, community based conflict about water use rights
and fire management needs legal framework, which supports and promotes adaptation
(Pinkard et al., 2010). According to Keithley & Bleier, (2008), constraints in implementing
adaptation plan and measures includes
- A limited understanding of the climate risks and vulnerability in the forest sector
- Contrast and divided views of environmental effects of forest management.
- Limit capacity and capital to implement proposed actions, etc.
Adaptive management involves simultaneous implementation of alternative treatments, such as
adaptation measures and policies in different localities, comparing and evaluating the result to
test hypothesis about the behaviour of complex systems. The ability for climate change in
causing a change in system´s response to treatments might be an important consideration in
future applications of adaptive management in the forestry section, for instance the forest
theory and practices in the current forest biodiversity conservation and management often
should focus on reducing the human influence on forest reserves. In regions where there is
rapid change in climate, we might need an active management strategy to conserve very
important elements of biodiversity. In addition, adaptation measures need an estimate of cost
benefit analysis, but in practice currently, most measures do not fulfil such analysis and
estimates. In general, current conditions and near-term choices about development and
adaptation will have consequences and influences on future adaptation options (Seppälä et al.,
6. Techniques of Mitigation in Agriculture and Forestry
According to Adger et al. (2007), agriculture contributes to about 50 and 60 percent of global
emissions of methane and nitrous oxide, respectively (mostly nitrous oxide from fertilized soil
and methane from livestock).The total contribution of GHGs from agriculture is estimated 10 to
12 percent of the total anthropogenic sources. If emission from deforestation, land use change
and indirect emission from fertilizer industries added, the total contribution will rise to 26-35
percent, and 80 percent of these agricultural emissions come from developing countries.
Mitigation in agriculture refers to reducing GHG emissions and increasing the sinks for the gases
already emitted includes: (a) Reducing emissions of CH4, CO2 and nitrous oxide through efficient
control and management of agricultural practices; (b) Enhancing removals of CO2, carbon
storage and carbon recovery through improved management of agro ecosystems, and
promoting agro forestry (e.g. planting of perennials in agricultural fields); (c) Avoiding emissions,
agricultural crop residues used as a source of fuel, directly or after converting to fuels such as
ethanol or diesel (Rahman, 2008).
There are a lot of factors affecting forest ecosystem following climate change, which can act
independently, or in combination, forests are particularly sensitive to climate change, because
the long life span of trees does not allow for rapid adaptation to environmental changes
(Lindner et al., 2010). However, trees when compared to other plant species, are uniquely
qualified to withstand directional environmental changes, because their longevity with
phenotypic plasticity allow to survive a few decades of adverse environmental conditions
Many impacts of climate change, reduced, delayed and avoided by mitigation. For example, in
agriculture sector it is possible to increase carbon storage by using different techniques,
improving grazing land management, using improved crop, restoration of degraded lands and
less productive soils. Beyond that, modifying the production system of rice cultivation, and
improving livestock manure decomposition technique to reduce methane gas emission.
Reducing N2O emission by using better nitrogen fertilizers application techniques, afforestation,
reforestation, forest management and emission reduction by reducing deforestation (ERRD).
Improving the harvested wood product management and using forest products for bio-energy
to replace fossil fuel use. Minimizing improper utilization of resources and avoiding improper
land use techniques, like protection of natural habitat and forests, and practicing soil and water
conservation structures, can be implemented in socially and economically sustainable manner.
Forestation and bio-energy plantations can lead to restoration of degraded lands, managing
water runoff, retain soil carbon and benefit the rural economies; however, if these activities are
not properly designed, the way in which we utilize the resources, e.g. our land use for food
production etc., can cause an impact on biodiversity (IPCC, 2007).
Following climate change and climate variability in different studies and by referring some
related literature, I suggest two important effects of warming and elevated CO2 on especially
valid for agricultural ecosystems: 1) Plants and in already warm areas will become less
productive and the production of plants in cold areas may increase when exposed to higher
temperature. 2) Increased CO2 concentration may have a positive effect on plant growth.
Higher temperature can make an obstacle on crop growth, the rise in temperature shorten the
growth period due to early flowering and fruit-bearing, and seeds might not fully develop
because of decrease in nourishment sent to the seed due to increased respiration. In addition,
elevated temperatures at the flowering stage of some plants (e.g. rice) makes the plant spikelet
sterile. In the case of Japanese rice, the anther will have difficulties to tear when the air
temperature is over 34o
C, thus global warming should in some areas be consider as a threat for
food security (Furuya, & Kobayashi, 2010).
However, higher temperature can directly stimulate root and microbial metabolic activities and
respiration that indirectly can have an impact on soil respiration through making a change in
plant growth, because of enhanced CO2 level and warming stimulate export of carbohydrates to
the roots (Wan et al., 2007). Lukac et al., (2010) also mention that, increasing temperature will
speed up the release of nutrients locked up in the mineral soil fractions and thus potentially
stimulate growth, however decreasing soil moisture that may be a result of higher
temperatures may limit this process.
Currently it is not well know which the net effect of increasing temperatures are as many
processes are involved and some will be affected positively and some negatively, e.g.
photosynthetic rate, respiration, photorespiration and volatile organic compound (VOC)
production. Although, it is quite clear that an increased temperature in some hot area can cause
a reduced photosynthetic rate due to overheating effect closure of stomata during drought
stress. These all together may reduce the general growth and development of the plants (Prieto
et al., 2009) in particularly in warm areas.
Research suggests that for some crops, such as rice, the benefit of CO2 may decline quickly as
temperature warm beyond optimum photosynthetic levels, however crop plant growth may
benefit relatively more from CO2 enrichment in drought conditions than in wet conditions
(Easterling, & Apps, 2005). Warming also allows the pole ward spread of exotics and pathogens
such as malaria transmitting mosquitoes and pests of main food crops such as corn-boring
insects, and can increase regional water loss, that directly affect productivity and human
survival ( Chapin et al., 2000).
Increasing the concentration of CO2 leads to normally to positive impacts on crop growth
(Furuya & Kobayashi, 2010). According to Hardy, (2003) this suggestion is partly supported by
the following statement: enhanced CO2 in general shows an increasing photosynthetic rate in
individual plant; nevertheless, this increased productivity does not necessarily benefit plants, in
the condition where several kinds of species grown together, due to increased competition,
availability of nutrient diminish. Any benefit of enhanced atmospheric CO2 and overall, the
effects of [CO2] enhanced atmosphere on community of vegetation are complex and not well
Study by Wan et al. (2007) shows that an elevated CO2 concentration can stimulate not only
plant growth, but also stimulate the allocation and availability of carbon substrate supply at the
ground below soil level as an input of substrate for different soil microbial activities and plant
root system. Therefore, it might be possible that enhanced [CO2] rise, air warming and variation
of precipitation will likely have an interactive and complex effect on plant soil process.
Increased CO2 content in the atmosphere is expected to increase the yield of many agricultural
crops by 5 to 15%; however, CO2 fertilization in climate impact model is an uncertain factor
(Roos et al., 2010). Study by Uprety et al., (2010), shows that due to elevated CO2 concentration
the increased in the yield was based on the improvement in the development of the number of
grain (more ears per M2
) rather than heavier kernels. Moreover, elevated CO2 under high
nitrogen availability brought about higher starch content in wheat grain due to an increased in
carbohydrate translocation from the source (leaf, and steam) to sink (grain). Elevated CO2 alters
litter quality, with significant decreases in its nutrient content, which means less nutrients per
unit mass, coupled with slower litter deposition under elevated CO2; therefore, nutrient
availability may be reduced in the long-run and thus counteracting the positive effects of
increased CO2 concentrations, at least in nutrient poor systems (Lukac et al., 2010).
Furthermore, land use change will have an impact on climate change; for instance, if we take
grazing of livestock, (in most cases, land without crop cultivation exposed for grazing). Under
none controlled over grazing there will be a loss in biodiversity in forest ecosystems. Thus, soil
exposed to erosion, reduction in major soil nutrients, gradual decline in fertility of forest soil,
slow regeneration of plant species, compaction of top soil, further which leads to an increase in
bulk densities, decreases infiltration rates, formation of hydromorphic humus, increases surface
runoff, tree root damage which facilitate root rot. In addition, the total forest area boundary
shrinkage, removal of the biomass and a dominance of single or few species and alters forest
dynamic loss of habitats for forest and shade dwelling species (Afreen et al., 2010). May be due
to destruction of forests and grasslands, almost 20% of worldwide CO2 emissions are released
(Ulukan, 2008). In a place where deforestation is highly affecting the diversity of flora and
fauna, afforestation or reforestation/ new plantation of different suitable species, converting
non-forest land to forestland will be one of the solutions for better forest ecosystem. We can
increase environmental benefits, by reducing erosion and protecting water shade, increasing
carbon stock, and controlling salinization, etc. (Afreen et al., 2010).
There is a Prediction of global mean temperature increment in between 1.8o
C to 4.0o
C by the
year 2100. In such warming, a wide range of impacts on terrestrial ecosystems and their
diversity will be affected. Furthermore, the effect will be higher on different sectors such as
agriculture, forestry, and health…etc. and natural disasters expected to increase following rise
in temperature (Mimura, 2010).
There are two basic counter measures regarding climate change, mitigation and adaptation
(Mimura, 2010). Mitigation includes different measures, undertaken to reduce GHGs emission
and increasing absorption of GHGs, which already emitted, and adaptation indicates different
potential measures to protect the adverse effects of climate change.
According to IPCC (2007), all societies have inherent abilities to deal with certain variations in
climate, yet adaptive capacities are unevenly distributed, both across countries and within the
societies. Adaptation of agricultural and forest system is very complex, because of external and
internal factors , e.g. temperature, humidity, light, water availability, photosynthesis, and
especially genotypic factors, as discussed above will play a major role (Ulukan, 2008). According
to (Mimura, 2010) Impact of climate change determined by the following main factors,
- Climate stimuli:-the degree of the external forces
- Susceptibility: - the weakness of an exposed systems to a particular influences
- Resilience: - The ability of the system to resist damage
These factors may be summarised in the term vulnerability which is a balance between factors
causing damage and the system ability to handle them, and it can expressed by the ratio of
external forces to the resilience minus the susceptibility. That means vulnerability increase with
an increase in different external forces, susceptibility and decrease with resilience. As the
incidence of external forces (extreme events, sea level rise etc) become constant, increasing
resilience or adaptability will result in reduced vulnerability. When we refer to sustainable
adaptation measures, as mentioned by Eriksen & O’Brien (2007) we might need to focus on the
- That target the risk posed by climate change to the poor, for instance deterioration of
water and destruction of social infrastructure and the viability of cropping systems and
other source of livelihoods.
- Those measures that targeted to make strengthen the capacity to cope with and adapt
to climate stress, for example involving in alternative source of income during drought,
accessing forest products, or seasonal movements of livestock for grazing and so on.
- Those measures that address the cause of vulnerability, for instance, conflict, poor social
and physical infrastructure, poor market relations in a particular product, etc.
Climate change adaptation and mitigation are closely linked and complimentary. The
importance of forest to climate, successful mitigation requires that forest are able to adapt
climate change and reduction emission from deforestation and fossil fuels are required to
preserve adaptive capacity of forests and enable them to continue in making their vital
contribution to mitigation of climate change (Seppälä et al. eds., 2009).
Industrialization and unmanaged utilization of resources results in higher rate of GHG emissions
and accumulations in the atmosphere, which might result in effects many years later. In
addition, population growth, urbanization and industrialization will result in a higher demand of
renewable and non-renewable natural resources. Even though, currently there is a gap between
availability (supply) and demand of increased population interests, there is a need to consider a
more careful utilization of natural resources. Activities of filling the gap must be by reducing
emission and protecting the coming generation, and make them beneficial.
To tackle problems associated to climate change we have to focus on practicing activities of
mitigation and potential adaptation measures. To protect the environment, mitigations should
be proactive by preventing and minimizing emission from source before they are emitted to the
atmosphere or by activities of conservation and substitution of energy, carbon sink, and using
modern technologies etc. Through adaptation measures, we can protect marketable and non-
marketable ecosystem services from damage and our actions have to be ongoing and flexible.
Identifying uncertainties in climate change can help us to reduce the challenges in performing
adaptation practices and trying to protect and resist risks of climate events.
Our adaptation practices need technologies and suitable policy options as main tools, thus,
preparation of guidelines and technology options has to be, socially acceptable,
environmentally sustainable and effectively applied. Moreover, forming continuous awareness
about climate change and adaptation issue might help to make the communities more
participatory in all processes of adaptation (from planning, decision-making, implementation to
As climate change have contrasting effect in different part of the world, it mainly affect the
developing world, causing variability in precipitation, solar radiation, temperature,[CO2]
humidity etc, it leads to increased infestation of disease, insect, pest and dispersal of weed,
which may affect food production and productivity. When the ambient factors affecting growth
will become beyond the tolerance of the plant species, it will have a negative effect on their
reproduction, life cycle and eventually extinct of the species from natural ecosystem.
There has to be great consideration of increasing environmental benefits from forest ecosystem
by afforestation, reforestation, for carbon sequestration, and storage of carbon as a biomass.
Moreover, forest ecosystem can serve as a home or habitat for living organisms.
Finally, it is crucial to use different effective conservation strategies to maintain species, genetic
diversity, and ecosystem services, and to proceed with research on different plant species to
investigate their response to climate variability, and to identify which species will be most
restricted in range and which will be most endangered and how they can be protected from
Adger, W.N., S. Agrawala, M.M.Q. Mirza, C. Conde, K. O’Brien, J. Pulhin, R. Pulwarty, B.Smitand
K.Takahashi, 2007: Assessment of adaptation practices, options, constraints and capacity. Climate
Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth
Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani,
J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK,
Adger W. N., Arnell N. W., & Tompkins E. L., 2005. Successful adaptation to climate change across scales.
Global Environmental Change 15, 77-86.
Afreen, S., Sharma, N.,Chaturved,i R.K., Gopalakrishnan, R., & Ravindranath, N.H., 2010. Forest policies
and programs affecting vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. Mitigation and Adaptation
Strategy for Global Change 16, 177-197.
Ainsworth, E. A., & Rogers, A., 2007. The response of photosynthesis and stomatal conductance to rising
[CO2]: mechanisms and environment interactions: Plant Cell and Environment. 30, 258-270.
Alexandrov, V. A., & Hoogenboom, G., 2000. Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessments of Agricultural
Crops under Climate Change in the Southeastern USA; theor. Appl. Climatol. 67,45-63.
Atkin, O. K., & Tjoelker, M. G., 2003. Thermal acclimation and the dynamic response of plants respiration
to temperature: TRENDS in Plant Science 8 No. 7, TX 77843-2135.
Atkin, O. K., Bruhn, D., Hurry, V. M., and Tjoelker, M. G., 2005. The hot and the cold: unraveling the
variable response of plant respiration to temperature: Functional Plant Biology, 32, 87-105.
Bedsworth, L. W., & Hanak E., 2010. Adaptation to Climate Change; A Review of Challenges and
Tradeoffs in six Areas: journal of the American planning Association 76, No 4.
Bloor, JM.G., Pichon, P., Falcimagne R., Leadley P., & Soussana J.F., 2010. Effects of Warming, Summer
Drought, and CO2 Enrichment on Aboveground Biomass production, Flowering Phenology, and
Community Structure in an Upland Grassland Ecosystem: Ecosystems 13; 888-900.
Bolin B., Döös B. R., Jager J., & Warrick R. A.,eds., 1989. The Green House Effect climate change and
Ecosystems: SCOPE 29 International Council of Scientific Union. Great Britain.
Boisvenue C. & Running S.W., 2006. Impacts of climate change on natural forest productivity- evidence
since the middle of the 20th
century. Global Change Biology 12, 862-882.
Bonan, G.B.,ed, 2002. Ecological Climatology, concept and applications. Cambridge University press,
Bonan, G.B., 2008. Forest and Climate Change: Forcing, Feedbacks, and the climate Benefits of Forests
Science 320, 1444.
Boyd James, 2010. Ecosystem service and climate adaptation, Resource for the Future, Issue brief 10-16.
CDIAC (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center), 2011. Recent Greenhouse Gas Concentration [on
line]. Available at: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg.html [accessed 13 Sep, 2011].
Cerri , C. E.P., Sparovek, G., Bernoux, M., Easterling, W.E., Melillo, J. M., & Cerri C. C., 2007. Tropical
Agriculture and Global Warming: Impacts and Mitigation Options; Sci. Agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.), v.
64, n. 1, pp., 83-89.
Chakraborty S., Tiedemann A. V., & Teng P.S., 2000. Climate change: potential impact on plant diseases:
Environmental Pollution 108, 317-326.
Chapin F.S., Zavaleta E. S., Eviner V.T., Naylor R. L., Vitousek P.M., Reynolds H.L., Hooper D.U., Lavorel, S.,
Sala O.E., Hobbie S.E, Mack ,M.C., & Diaz S., 2000. Consequences of changing biodiversity:
Nature/v. 405/11 in sight review articles.
Chen, De. X., Hunt, H. W.,and Morgan J.A., 1996. Responses of a C3 and C4 perennial grass to CO2
enrichment and climate change: Comparison between model predictions and experimental data.
Ecological Modeling 87, 11-27.
Easterling W., & Apps M., 2005. Assessing the consequences of climate change for food and forest
resources: a view from the IPCC: Climate change 70, 165-189.
Eriksen S. H., & O´Brien K., 2007. Vulnerability, poverty and the need for sustainable adaptation
measures; Climate Policy 7, 337-352.
Eriksen S., 2009, Sustainable Adaptation Emphasizing Local and Global Equity and Environmental
Evans Alexander M., & Perschel, R.,2009. A review of forestry mitigation and adaptation strategies in the
northeast U.S. A: Climate change 96, 167-183.
FAO of the United Nations, 2007. Adaptation to climate change in agriculture, forestry and fisheries:
Perspective, framework and priorities; Viale delle Terme di caracalla-00100 Rome, Italy.
Farrar, J. F., & Williams M.L., 1991. The effects of increased atmospheric CO2 and temperature on carbon
partitioning, source – sink relations and respiration, Plant Cell and Environment 14, 819-830.
Fuhrer, J., 2003. Agro ecosystem responses to combination of elevated CO2, O3 and global climate
change: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 97, 1-20.
Furuya, J., & Kobayashi, S., 2010. Impact of Global Warming on Agriculture Product Markets. In: Sumi, A.,
Fukushi, K., & Hiramatsu, A., eds., Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies for Climate Change:
Springer Tokyo Berlin Heidelberg New York. Ch. 2.
Fussel, M. H., 2009. An updated assessment of the risks from climate change based on research
published since the IPCC Forth Assessment Report: Climate Change 97: 467-482.
Ghasemzadeh, A., Jaafar, Hawwa Z.E., & Rahmat A., 2010. Elevated Carbon Dioxide Increases Contents of
Flavonoids and Phenolic Compounds, and Antioxidant Activities in Malaysian Young Ginger (Zingiber
officinale Roscoe.) Varieties; Molecules, 15, 7907-7922; doi: 10.3390/molecules 15117907
Glick P., Staudt A., & Stein B., 2009. A New Era for Conservation: Review of climate change adaptation
literature: National Wildlife Federation.
Grasty, S., 1999. Agriculture and Climate Change: In TDRI Quarterly Review, Auger, P. & Suwanraks,R.,
Grothmann, T., & Patt, A., 2003. Adaptive Capacity and Human Cognition: prepared for presentation at
the Open meeting of the Global Environmental Change Research Community, Montreal, Canada, 16.
Gunderson C. A., Edwards N. T., Walker A. V., O’Hara K. H., Campion C.M., and Hanson P. J., 2012. Forest
phenology and a warmer climate - growing season extension in relation to climate provenance: In
Global Change Biology, 18, 2008-2025.
Hamrick J. L., 2004. Response of forest trees to global environment changes: Forest Ecology and
Management 197, 323-335.
Hardy, John T., 2003. Climate change: cause, effects, and solutions, England: John Wiley & sons Ltd.
Heidorn, K. C., 2003. The Weather Doctor’s, Weather Almanac Growing By Dergrees for.
http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/almanac/arc2003/alm03may.htm [accessed on
Hyvönen, R., Ågren, G, I., Linder, S., Persson, T., Cotrufo, M. F., Ekblad, A., Freeman,M., Grelle,
A.,Janssens, I. A., Jarvis, P.G., Kellomäki, S., Lindroth, A., Loustau, D., Lundmark,T., Norby, R. J. Oren,
R., Pilegaard, K., Ryan, M. G., Sigurdsson, B. D.,Strömgren, M., Oijen, M. V., & Wallin, G., 2006. The
likely impact of elevated [CO2], nitrogen deposition, increased temperature and management on
carbon sequestration in temperate and boreal forest ecosystems: a literature review. New
Phytologist 173, 463-480.
IPCC, 2007: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working
Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [B.
Metz, O.R. Davidson, P.R. Bosch, R. Dave, L.A. Meyer (eds)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
Keithley, C., & Bleier, C., 2008. An Adaptation Plan for California’s Forest Sector and Rangelands.
Kruijt B., Witte Jan-p. M., Jacobs Cor M. J., and Kroon T., 2007. Effects of rising atmospheric CO2 on
evapotranspiration and soil moisture: a practical approach for the Netherland; Journal of Hydrology
Lepetz V., Massot, M. & Schmeller, D.S., & Clobert, J., 2009. Biodiversity monitoring: some proposals to
adequately study species’ responses to climate change. Biodiversity and Conservation 18, 3185-
Lindner, M., Maroschek, M., Netherer, S., Kremer, A., Barbati, A.,Gonzalo, Jordi G., Seidl, R., Delzon, S.,
Corona, P.,Kolström, M.,Lexer, Manfred J.,& Marchetti, M., 2010. Climate change impacts, adaptive
capacity, and vulnerability of European forest ecosystems: Forest Ecology and Management 259,
Lloyd, J., & Farquhar, G., 2008. Effects of rising temperatures and [CO2] on the physiology of tropical
forest trees. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 363, 1811-1817.
Long, S. P., Ainsworth, E. A., Rogers, A., & Ort, D.R., 2004. Rising Atmospheric Carbon dioxide Plant FACE
the Future Annu.Rev. of Plant Biol. V.55, 591-628.
Loreto, F. & Centritto, M. 2008. `Leaf carbon assimilation in a water-limited world`, Plant Biosystems- An
International Journal Dealing with all Aspects of Plant Biology, 142, 1, 15-161.
Lukac, M., Calfapietra, C., Lagomarsino, A. & Loreto, F., 2010. Global climate change and tree nutrition:
effects of elevated CO2 and temperature: Tree physiology [0829-318X] Lukac yr. 30, 1209 -1220.
Luxmoore, R.J., Wullschleger, S. D., and Hanson P. J., 1993. Forest responses to CO2 enrichment and
climate warming, Water, Air and Soil Pollution 70: 309-323.
Mendelsohn, R., 2000. Efficient Adaptation to Climate Change: Climate Change 45: 583-600. kluwer
Academic publishers, Netherlands.
Mimura, N., 2010. Scope and roles of adaptation to climate change. In: A. Sumi, K. Fukushi, and A.
Hiramatsu, eds., Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies for Climate Change. Springer Tokyo Berlin
Heidelberg New York. Ch.9.
Montoya, J. M., Emmerson, M. C., Sole, R. V. & Woodward, G. 2005 Perturbations and indirect effects in
complex food webs. In Dynamic food webs: multispecies assemblages, ecosystem development,
and environmental change (eds P. De Ruiter, V. Wolters & J. C. Moore). New York, NY: Academic
Morison, J.I.L,& Lawlor D.W., 1999. Interaction between increase CO2 concentration and temperature on
plant growth. Plant Cell and Environment volume 22, 659-682.
Morris,R.J., 2010. Anthropogenic impacts on tropical forest biodiversity: a network structure and
ecosystem functioning Perspective: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B 365, 3709-
Moser,Susanne C., & Ekstrom, Julia A., 2010. A framework to diagnose barriers to climate change
adaptation, University of California, Berkeley, PNAS 107, 22026-22031.
Niinemets, Ü., 2010. Responses of forest trees to single and multiple environmental stresses from
seedlings to mature plants: past stress history, stress interactions, tolerance and acclimation:
Forest Ecology and Management 260, 1623-1639.
Norby, R. J., Cotrufo, M.F., Ineson, P., O’Neill, E.G., & Canadell, J.G., 2001. Elevated CO2, litter chemistry,
and decomposition: a synthesis; Oecologia Springer- Verlag 127, 153-165
Norby R.J., Delucia E. H, Gielen B., Calfapietra C., Giardina C. P., King, J. S., Ledford J., McCarthy, H.R.,
Moore J.P., Ceulemans R., Angelis P. De, Finzil A.C., Karnosky D.F., Kubiske M.E., Lukac M., Pregitzer
K.S., Scarascia-Mugnozza G. E., Schlesinger W. H., and Oren R., 2005. Forest response to elevated
CO2 is conserved across a broad range of productivity. PNAS 102, 18052-18056.
Pinkard, L., Battaglia, M., Howden, M.,Bruce, J., & Potter, K., 2010. Adaptation to Climate Change in
Australia’s Plantation Industry; CSIRO sustainable ecosystems. Prepared for the National Association
of Forest Industries
Pleijel H. and Uddling J., 2011 Yields vs Quality trade-offs for wheat in response to carbon dioxide and
ozone. Global Change Biology, 18: 596-605.
Prieto, P., Penuelas, J., Llusia,J., Asensio, D., & Estiarte, M., 2009. Effects of experimental warming and
drought on biomass accumulation in a Mediterranean shrub land: plant ecol 205, 179-191
Preston, B.L., Westaway, R. M., & Yuen E. J., 2010. Climate adaptation planning in practice: an evaluation
of adaptation plans from three developed nations: mitigation adapt strateg Glob change DOC 10.
Porter, J.R., & Smenenov, M.A., 2005. Crop responses to climatic variation: Phil.Trans. R.Soc.B 360, 2021-
Qaderi, M. M., & Reid D. M., 2009. Crop Responses to Elevated Carbon dioxide and Temperature (chp1),
In Singh S. N., (ed.), Climate Change and Crops, Environmental Science and Engineering, DOI
10.1007/978-3-540-88246-6 1, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Rahman, A., 2008. Climate Change and the future of smallholder agriculture; how can rural poor people
be a part of the solution to climate change? Discussion paper prepared for the round table on
climate change at the third- first session of IFAD`S Governing Council: IFAD Policy Reference Group
on Climate Change, IFAD: Rome, Italy.
Robinet,C., & Roques, A., 2010. Direct impact of recent climate warming on insect population:
Integrative Zoology 5, 132-142.
Roos, J., Hopkins, R., Kvarnheden, A., & Dixelius, C., 2010. The impact of global warming on plant
diseases and vectors in Sweden: Eur J Plant Pathol 129, 9-19.
Rosenzweig, C., Iglesias, A., Yang, X.B., Epstein, P.R., & Chivian, E., 2001. Climate change and extreme
weather events Implication for food production, plant diseases, and pests: GLOBAL CHANGE &
HUMAN HEALTH, Volume 2, No. 2 Kluwer Academic publisher; New York.
Saxe, H., Cannell Melvin G. R., Johnsen O., Ryan, M. G., and Vourlitis G., 2001. Tree and forest
functioning in response to global warming. New Phytologist, 149: 369-400.
Simoes, A.F., Kligerman, D.C., La Rovere, E. L., Maroun, M.R., Barata, M., & Obermaier, M., 2010.
Enhancing adaptive capacity to climate change: The case of smallholder farmers in the Brazilian
semiarid region, Environmental science & policy 13, 801-808.
Seppälä, R., Buck, A., & Katila, P., (eds.), 2009. Adaptation of forests and people to climate change. A
Global Assessment Report: International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World
series V.22 Helsinki. 224p.
Seppälä, R., (2009) 'A global assessment on adaptation of forests to climate change', Scandinavian
Journal of Forest Research, 24, 469 — 472.
Shapiro, J B.,Griffin K. L., Lewis J. D., and Tissue, D. T., 2004. Response of Xanthium strumarium Leaf
Respiration in the Light to Elevated CO2Concentration, Nitrogen Availability and Temperature. New
Pytologist 162, 377-386.
Smit, B., Burton, I., Klein, Richard J. T., & Wandel, J., 2000. An anatomy of adaptation to climate change
and variability climate change 45, 223-225..
Smith, P., D. Martino, Z. Cai, D. Gwary, H. Janzen, P. Kumar, B. McCarl, S. Ogle, F. O’Mara, C. Rice, B.
Scholes, O.& Sirotenko, 2007: Agriculture. In Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of
Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change [B. Metz, O.R. Davidson, P.R. Bosch, R. Dave, L.A. Meyer (eds)], Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
Stalker, P. ed., 2006. Technologies for Adaptation to Climate Change; (UNFCCC): Bonn, Germany.
Spittlehouse,D.L., & Stewart,R. B., 2003. Adaptation to climate change in forest management: v.4
Swart,R., & Marinova, N., 2010. Policy option in a worst case climate change world: mitig Adapt Strateg
Glob change 15, 531-549.
Theurillat, J. P., & Guisan, A., 2001. Potential impact of climate change on vegetation in the European
alps: review, Climate Change 50: 77-109, kluwer Academic publisher, Netherlands.
Thuiller,W., Lavorel, S., Araujo, M. B, Sykes, M. T., & Prentice, I.C., 2005. Climate change threats to plant
diversity in Europe; PNAS, June 7, Vol. 102,#23, 8245-8250.
Thuiller W., Albert, C., Araujo, M. B., Berry, P. M., Cabeza, M., Guisan, A.,Hickler, T., Midgley, G.F.,
Paterson, J., Schurr, F.. M, Sykes, M. T., and Zimmermann, N. E., 2008. Predicting global change
impact on plant species distributions: Future Challenges, Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution
and Systematic 9 137- 152. Rubel Foundation, Published by Elsevier GmbH.
Tubiello, F., Schmidhuber, J., Howden, M., Neofotis P. G., Park, S., Fernandes, E., and Thapa, D.,
2008.Climate Change Response Strategies for Agriculture: Challenges and opportunities for the 21 st
Century, Agriculture and Rural Development Discussion paper 42 The World Bank.
Tylianakis J. M., Didham R. K., Bascompte J., & Wardle D.A., 2008. Global change and spices interactions
in terrestrial ecosystems: Ecology Letters 11, 1351-1363.
Ulukan H., 2008. Agronomic Adaptation of Some Field Crops: A General Approach; 194, 169-179,
department of field crops, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ankara, Turkey: Agronomy & Crop
Science ISSN 0931-2250.
Uprety D. C., Sen S., & Dwivedi N., 2010. Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide on grain quality in crop
plants: physiol Mol Biol Plants.
Wan, S.,Norby, R.J., Ledford, J. Weltzin, Jake F., 2007. Responses of Soil respiration to elevated CO2, air,
warming, and changing soil water availability in a model old field grass land: Global Change Biology
Wand, S. E., Midgley, G. F., Jones, M. C., and Curtis, P. C., 1999. Responses of wild C4 and C3 grass
(Poaceae) species to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration: a meta-analytic test of current
theories and perceptions: Global Change Biology 5, 723-741.
Wang, D., Heckathorn, S.A., Barua, D., Joshi, P., Hamilton, E. W., & Lacroix, J. J., 2008. Effects of Elevated
CO2 on the Tolerance of photosynthesis to acute heat stress in C3, C4 and CAM species: American
Journal of Botany 95, 165-176.
Warren, R., 2011. The role of interactions in a world implementing adaptation and mitigation solutions
to climate change: phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 369, 217-241.
Watkins A., n. a. Plant Respiration Temperature. http://www.ehow.com/info_12002278_plant-
respiration-temperature.html [accessed on 22/09/2012].
Wikipedia 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo accessed on 22/09/2012
WRI (World Resources Institute), 2009. Adaptation: Key questions and answers. [On line] Available at:
http://www.wri.org/stories/2009/03/adaptation-key-questions-and-answers [accessed 04 Feb.
WRI (World Resources Institute), 2009. Enabling Adaptation: priorities for supporting the rural poor in a
changing climate,[on line] Available at: http://www.wri.org/publication/enabling-adaptation-
climate-change [accessed 04 Feb, 2011].
Yodzis, P. 2000 Diffuse effects in food webs. Ecology 81, 261–266.
Zha,T. S., Ryyppö, A., Wang, K. Y., & Kellomäki, S., 2001. Effects of elevated carbon dioxide concentration
and temperature on needle growth, respiration and carbohydrate status in field- grown Scots pines
during the needle expansion period: Tree Physiology 21, 1279-1287.
Zha, T. S., Kellomäki, S., Wang, K. Y., & Ryyppö, A., 2005. Respiratory responses of Scots pine stems to 5
years of exposure to elevated CO2 concentration and temperature: Tree Physiology 25, 49-56.