How can forage production in Nordic and Mediterranean Europe adapt to the challenges and opportunities arising from climate change?
Ergon, Å.; Seddaiu, G.; Korhonen, Panu; Virkajärvi, Perttu; Bellocchi, G.; Jørgensen, M.; Østrem, L. (2018)
Climate change and its effects on grassland productivity vary across Europe. The Mediterranean and Nordic regions represent the opposite ends of a gradient of changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, with increasingly warmer and wetter winters in the north and increasingly warmer and drier summers in the south. Warming and elevated concentration of atmospheric CO2 may boost forage production in the Nordic region. Production in many Mediterranean areas is likely to become even more challenged by drought in the future, but elevated CO2 can to some extent alleviate drought limitation on photosynthesis and growth. In both regions, climate change will affect forage quality and lead to modifications of the annual productivity cycles, with an extended growing season in the Nordic region and a shift towards winter in the Mediterranean region. This will require adaptations in defoliation and fertilization strategies. The identity of species and mixtures with optimal performance is likely to shift somewhat in response to altered climate and management systems. It is argued that breeding of grassland species should aim to (i) improve plant strategies to cope with relevant abiotic stresses and (ii) optimize growth and phenology to new seasonal variation, and that plant diversity at all levels is a good adaptation strategy.
- Julkaisut