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Adaptation options for rice in South Asia: 

Adaptation options for rice in South Asia Robin Matthews Cranfield University, Silsoe, Beds. MK45 4DT, UK (previously at International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines)


Rice Second-most important crop after wheat 585 million tonnes produced from 151 million ha (2001) 94% of this is in Asia Estimated 60% increase in production (2.4% p.a.) needed to meet population demand (2020) But increasing urbanisation – less land, water, labour Yields in best farmer’s fields already approaching research station yields Climate change only adds to an already complex problem

The EPA/IRRI Project: 

The EPA/IRRI Project Initiated in 1989 Aim was to study the effects of global climate change and UV-B on rice ecosystems the intensity and extent of these factors for Asia the importance of rice ecosystems in methane emissions Modelling for prediction & planning (1993/94)

EPA: Experiments & modelling: 

EPA: Experiments & modelling ORYZA1 (Kropff et al., 1994) SIMRIW (Horie, 1987)

Physiological responses: 

Physiological responses (Bachelet et al., 1993)

Model limitations: 

Model limitations Both models (ORYZA1, SIMRIW) were potential production models – i.e. yield determined only by temperature, sunlight, CO2 level, daylength, crop variety, planting and harvest dates Did not take into account water limitations nutrient (N,P,K) limitations weeds, pests & diseases

Climate scenarios: 

Climate scenarios General Circulation Models (GCMs)

Predicted yield changes: 

Predicted yield changes 3 GCM scenarios 68 weather stations (Matthews et al., 1995)

Overall rice production changes: 

Overall rice production changes ORYZA1 model:

Adaptation options: 

Adaptation options Adjusting planting dates to avoid higher temperatures at flowering time (warmer regions) Breeding temperature tolerant varieties (warmer regions) Transition from single-cropping to double-cropping where extended growing season permits (cooler regions) Selection for varieties with greater response to elevated CO2 (all regions)

Adjusting planting dates: 

Adjusting planting dates Current planting dates Planting dates delayed 1 month Madurai, India (8.5°N 78.0°E) Max temp at flowering: 36 °C GFDL: +3.3 °C GISS: +3.5 °C UKMO: +3.4 °C

Temperature tolerant varieties: 

Temperature tolerant varieties (Matthews et al., 1995)

Extended growing seasons: 

Extended growing seasons (Matthews et al., 1995) But: More water needed More fertiliser needed

Outstanding questions: 

Outstanding questions Acclimatisation by crop to elevated CO2 levels What effect will changes in the water cycle have on rice production? rainfall - irrigation supplies sea level changes – rice growing area Influence of enhanced storm activity? What interaction will there be with the N cycle? How will people adjust their livelihood strategies? What effect will there be on other components of the livelihood system (livestock, trees, soils, weeds)? Will farmers switch to other crops? Effect on neighbouring ecosystems (e.g. forested areas) as cropping area is expanded?

Sustainable livelihoods: 

Sustainable livelihoods ‘People at centre-stage’

The SLM model: 

The SLM model Farm Outside world Flows of OM, N, water, energy, finance & labour controlled by farmer activities Activities governed by farmer decisions

Complex adaptive systems I: 

Complex adaptive systems I Network theory, game theory, artificial intelligence

Complex adaptive systems II: 

Complex adaptive systems II Learning planting dates, adapted cultivars crop substitution income diversification Key external drivers Climate change Technological advancement Population increase Demographic shifts – e.g. urbanisation Evolving social structures – e.g. altered relationships between social and financial capital

Key messages: 

Key messages Identifying areas where adjusting planting dates to avoid high temperature stress on spikelet sterility is possible Selecting for varieties with greater temperature tolerance Identify areas where a move from single-cropping to double cropping may be possible Consider the wider system

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