Carbon plants nutrition and global food security
Lombardy Museum of Agricultural History, Università degli Studi di Milano - Disaa, Via Giuseppe Celoria, 2, 20133, Milano, Italy
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Accepted: 5 January 2017
Published online: 15 February 2017
To evaluate the effects of carbon nutrition on agricultural productivity, a physiological-process-based crop simulation model, driven by the 1961-1990 monthly climate data from global FAO dataset, was developed and applied to four crops (wheat, maize, rice and soybean --WMRS) which account for 64% of the global caloric consumption of humans. Five different temperatures and CO2 scenarios (current; glacial; pre-industrial; future_1 with 560 ppmv for CO2 and +2 °C for temperature; and future_2 with 800 ppmv for CO2 and +4 °C) were investigated. The relative values of WMRS global productions for past and future scenarios were, respectively, 49% of the present-day scenario for glacial, 82% for pre-industrial, 115% for future_1 and 124% for future_2. A sensitive growth of productivity of future scenarios (respectively to 117% and 134%) was observed if the northward shift of crops was allowed, and a strong increase was obtained without water limitation (from 151% to 157% for the five scenarios) and without biotic and abiotic stresses (from 30% to 40% for WMRS subject to the current scenario). Furthermore since the beginning of the Green Revolution (roughly happened between the '30s and the '50s of the twentieth century) production losses due to sub-optimal levels of CO2 and to biotic and abiotic stresses have been masked by the strong technological innovation trend still ongoing, which, in the last century, led to a strong increase in the global crop production (+400%-600%). These results show the crucial relevance of the future choices of research and development in agriculture (genetics, land reclamation, irrigation, plant protection, and so on) to ensure global food security.
© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2017