Home Forums Climate Resilience via Agroecology Weekly Lesson Forum Week 1: Climate Change and Agriculture

  • Week 1: Climate Change and Agriculture

     Julie Fagan updated 3 years ago 7 Members · 7 Posts
  • N4t4l14

    Administrator
    June 5, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Post your reflections, thoughts, comments, experiences and feedback from the materials from week 1 here!

    Discussion Questions:
    What are your views on climate change and what potential impacts of climate change concern you?

  • Laura

    Member
    June 5, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    1. These are interesting tools I had not seen previously.
    2. It appears that my central coast location can expect to become more uniform: slightly warmer (average temp goes from 66 to 70) and slightly wetter (avg precip. goes from 14.4″ to 15.8″). The extreme heat threshold is 88.2; this is lower than other regions… and extreme heat days may double from 4 to 8 annually. Sea level rise does not have much impact on my immediate area, but does hit the major tourist centers in Monterey, nearby. This can affect traffic and markets. Appears to be an intensification of wildfire in the broader region. The tool suggests going from 33 to 40 hectares burned annually in my area. There is an increase in cooling degree days and decrease in warming degree days.
    3. I don’t have enough history farming to estimate climate related losses. Having been in this region for only 8 years, I am not comfortable assuming that any variability I’ve noticed can be attributed to climate change.
    4. Something new this year: a significant issue with house flies. It might be related to management, but we have not yet figured out what is different this year in our management to account for the significant increase in fly population. We have been extra diligent in compost and manure management, and released parasitic beneficials (wasps) as a last resort. In an urban lot, the neighbors complaints carry a lot of weight.

  • Bob

    Member
    June 11, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Same with Laura. Haven’t been farming here long enough to see trends. Plants bolted early this year, as in many other farms, due to unseasonal warmth in winter. Gopher population exploded and we caught 50 in a month. Mildew has already hit pea and squash leaves in our moist, foggy, east bay climate. More ground squirrels are enjoying our compost piles. Some weeds like morning glory (bindweed) have a stronger foothold. More bristly ox tongue too. Mulching has cut back on poison hemlock and has made it a lot easier to pull.

  • Carolyn

    Member
    August 17, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Based on the predicted future climatic conditions in your region, what impacts (ecological, economic, etc) on your agricultural system do you expect?
    I live in Mendocino County just west of Lake Mendocino.I have a small piece of property and my goal is to have a small nursery and to grow drought tolerant California native plants that can be used for landscaping purposes and that also support native pollinators. I also plan on continuing to grow fruits and vegetables and to keep bees and raise chickens for personal consumption.

    I used CalAdapt’s projected means for minimum and maximum temperatures and annual rainfall to think about the viability and challenges of this goal. From their data I can expect higher temperatures with similar rainfall totals. The higher projected temperatures will generate a need for more water and will affect the types of trees that I can plant now for the future. I will need to plant trees with less chilling requirements than are now grown in this area. I will also need to choose landscaping plants that have lower water requirements.

    I live a few miles away from the site of the largest wildfire in the history of California. I am trying to understand ways to work with Cal Fire’s recommendations for leaving completely cleared areas around structures and homes and with the Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) passed by the State of CA 5 years ago in response to our extreme drought. MWELO regulations include incorporating large amounts of organic matter into the soil and protecting the soil with mulch. Use of mulch close to structures is in opposition to Cal Fire’s recommendations. Also, the planting of low to very low water using plants, as recommended by MWELO, may potentially create fuel for wildfires.

    Vegetable crops are high water using plants and our class readings gave some good ideas for cultural practices such as planting annual crops between fruit trees to block the wind and reduce water stress.

  • Marlena Hirsch

    Member
    August 21, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Because I am a high school teacher with a school and home garden, I have limited info to share. Here is what I think that others might be interested in.

    Response of Fruit trees to Wildfire
    I am observing how my fruit trees are responding to the wildfire that burned them. The apple trees that burned are base-sprouting. This is an opportunity for me to choose the strongest sprout over time and graft it. The peach has already sprouted to a height of about four feet. This tree grew from a seedling, so the root is making the same wood that produces delicious peaches. The wildfire makes a case for own-root fruit trees, but I have only found reliable fruit from peaches and nectarine seedlings.
    I will choose low chill apple varieties when I graft.

  • Gwenael

    Member
    August 29, 2018 at 9:40 am

    The presentation by Tapan from UC ANR gave excellent context for understanding the tools on the Cal-Adapt website. As he said, the increase in the average minimum annual temperature can have significant impacts due to crops not receiving enough chill hours during the winter. The point about “warm nights” causing stress for both animals and humans was an interesting one as well.

    The Cal-Adapt model shows a significant increase in the number of cooling days. I was interested to see from the modeling that annual precipitation is expected to increase in California. The written interpretation of the projections describes “little change in total annual precipitation in California [and a continuation of the] Mediterranean seasonal precipitation pattern, with most precipitation falling during winter from North Pacific storms.”

    Given the projections relating to precipitation, I was confused by the “Extended Drought Scenario” which states that recent research suggests that extended drought occurrence (“mega-drought”) could become more pervasive in future decades. The modeling for the 20 year drought shows one scenario that has drought beginning in the early 2020s – just a few years away!

  • Julie Fagan

    Member
    September 4, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    I tried and like both tools:
    Cal Adapt
    The Climate Toolbox

    1) Based on the predicted future climatic conditions in your region, what impacts (ecological, economic, etc) on your agricultural system do you expect?
    I believe my property will go from zone 9b-10a between now and 2099. Many Fruit Trees and Grains will only grow in lower temps (9b max) including Almonds (I already have 200 Almond trees in my orchard). This information is causing me to reconsider / adapt my planting plans and farm strategy.

    2) Can you estimate the losses (income, yields, etc) that your farm has experienced due to climatic events? Not really, we are only getting started moving from strictly range land to growing fruit /nut trees and other fruits and vegetables. Our goal is to determine how many people we can support (for all food needs) on 50 acres while also improving the quality of the land. Healthier soil = healthier people and planet.

    3) Have you noticed changes in your farm due to climatic variability? An increase of insect pests or diseases? New weeds? Changes in the phenology of your crop? Need to adjust planting dates? Etc. Please describe changes and why you think they happened.
    We had an unexplained grasshopper infestation last year.
    I’m noticing more bark being burned off of fruit and nut trees than in the past.
    Star thistle is becoming more of a problem.

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