Research objectives and content
1. develop an integrated, spatially-distributed model to evaluate the impact of climate change on regional land use systems, especially the impacts on : (a) soils, including their hydrology and vulnerability to degradation; (b) crop productivity, including the influence of soil water availability and soil degradation; (c) optimum land use allocation based on physical, socio-economic and managemen considerations. 2. demonstrate the use of the model in representative European regions for a range of climate change scenarios, and to produce maps illustrating the key model outputs (soil hydrology, crop productivity, land degradation and land use distribution) for the current and potential future climate. 3. use the model to evaluate adaptation strategies of land use and management to climate change, especially : (a) changing the selection of crops and land use rotations; (b) adopting different crop varieties, notably those tolerant of drought stress (c) modifying soil tillage practices and the timing of operations; The project is proposing to combine physical models of crop productivity developed in a previous EC-funded project (ACCESS - Agroclimatic Change and Eruopean Soil Suitability) with micro- and macro- economic models to construct a single integrated model for use in the assessment of climate change impacts o agricultural land use systems in Europe. In particular, the model will evaluate soil hydrology, crop productivity, optimum land use allocation and labour and machinery requirements at the regional scale in response to scenarios of climate change. The project also proposes to develop strategies for the adaptation of land use systems to climate change, and the model will be used to test the effectiveness of these strategies. A demonstration of the regional application of the integrated model will undertaken in representative regions of England, France, Spain, Italy, Dexmark and Creece.