Will Florida’s agriculture adapt to climate change? Climate disruptions to agriculture and natural resources in Florida are projected to increase in the future. These impacts will be increasingly negative because critical thresholds are being exceeded. This chapter discusses how Florida’s agriculture and natural resources may be affected by climate change in the coming decades.
Agriculture will be affected by invasive alien species, sea-level-rise flooding, and storm surges. A warmer, drier climate will place agriculture in competition with other users for limited water resources. A serious concern for agriculture is that rising sea level will cause coastal groundwater to become more saline and groundwater levels to rise. The loss of coastal wetlands increases the risk of catastrophic damage due to extreme weather events. Degradation of soil and water assets due to increasing extremes in precipitation will challenge both rainfed and irrigated agriculture without the implementation of innovative conservation methods. High night-time temperatures can reduce grain yields and animal-sourced production. Climate change also increases the vulnerability of forests to ecosystem changes due to decreased soil moisture and increased evapotranspiration. The practical implications are that increased innovation will be needed to ensure the adaptation of agriculture and the associated socioeconomic system can keep pace with climate change. Given the difficulties in predicting our future climate, we must develop new risk-transfer innovations that will facilitate damage recovery. Changes in agricultural yields and food prices could have important implications for food security.
The author acknowledges support from WSC-Category 2 Collaborative: Robust Decision-making for South Florida Water Resources by Ecosystem Service Valuation, Hydro-economic Optimization, and Conflict Resolution Modeling (NSF Award # 1204762).
Letson, D. (2017), "Climate Change and Food Security: Florida’s Agriculture in the Coming Decades", World Agricultural Resources and Food Security (Frontiers of Economics and Globalization, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 85-102. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1574-871520170000017007
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