Adapting agricultural land management to climate change: a regional multi-objective optimization approach

Klein, Tommy Patrick; Holzkämper, Annelie; Calanca, Pierluigi; Seppelt, Ralf; Fuhrer, Jürg (2013). Adapting agricultural land management to climate change: a regional multi-objective optimization approach. Landscape ecology, 28(10), pp. 2029-2047. Springer Netherlands 10.1007/s10980-013-9939-0

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In several regions of the world, climate change is expected to have severe impacts on agricultural systems. Changes in land management are one way to adapt to future climatic conditions, including land-use changes and local adjustments of agricultural practices. In previous studies, options for adaptation have mostly been explored by testing alternative scenarios. Systematic explorations of land management possibilities using optimization approaches were so far mainly restricted to studies of land and resource management under constant climatic conditions. In this study, we bridge this gap and exploit the benefits of multi-objective regional optimization for identifying optimum land management adaptations to climate change. We design a multi-objective optimization routine that integrates a generic crop model and considers two climate scenarios for 2050 in a meso-scale catchment on the Swiss Central Plateau with already limited water resources. The results indicate that adaptation will be necessary in the study area to cope with a decrease in productivity by 0–10 %, an increase in soil loss by 25–35 %, and an increase in N-leaching by 30–45 %. Adaptation options identified here exhibit conflicts between productivity and environmental goals, but compromises are possible. Necessary management changes include (i) adjustments of crop shares, i.e. increasing the proportion of early harvested winter cereals at the expense of irrigated spring crops, (ii) widespread use of reduced tillage, (iii) allocation of irrigated areas to soils with low water-retention capacity at lower elevations, and (iv) conversion of some pre-alpine grasslands to croplands.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Fuhrer, Jürg


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Springer Netherlands




Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

02 Jul 2014 15:28

Last Modified:

01 Dec 2018 02:32

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Agricultural land management, Adaptation to climate change, Crop modeling, Regional optimization, Multi-objective




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