Climate change response strategies for agriculture: challenges and opportunities for the 21st Century

Agriculture will face significant challenges in the 21st century, largely due to the need to increase global food supply under the declining availability of soil and water resources and increasing threats from climate change. Nonetheless, these challenges also offer opportunities to develop and promote food and livelihood systems that have greater environmental, economic and social resilience to risk. It is clear that success in meeting these challenges will require both the application of current multidisciplinary knowledge, and the development of a range of technical and institutional innovations. This paper identifies possible climate change responses that address agricultural production at the plant, farm, regional and global scales. Critical components required for the strategic assessment of adaptation capacity and anticipatory adaptive planning are identified and examples of adaptive strategies for a number of key agricultural sectors are provided.