Climate Change and Agriculture: a study for the Hunter Local Land Services

In this study we developed potential ‘best’ and ‘worst’ case climate change impact distribution models for future cropping, grazing and avocado production using species distribution modelling software. MaxEnt predicts the probability that an area will be suitable for agricultural production based on changes in the climate variables most appropriate for each commodity.  We chose the most appropriate climatic variables based on consultations with farmers, industry, NRM representatives and published literature. We considered two Global Climate Models (GCM) under the current (baseline) climate and the A1FI emission scenario for 2025 and 2035 representing: 1) a ‘worst’ warmer and drier future (CSIRO Mk3.5) and 2) a ‘best’ cooler and wetter future (CSIRO MIROC-M).

This study found that agriculture in the Hunter LLS Region will be impacted by climate change.
Cropping is predicted to remain suitable mostly in the north-western area of the region.
Grazing is predicted to contract in the west, but suitability of land increases in some eastern regions. There is less impact of climate change on grazing under the cooler-wetter GCM.
Land suitable for avocado production is predicted to contract from the west but remain suitable in many eastern regions.Rainfall (May-October) was the most important predictor of cropping. Maximum temperature (November) was the most important variable for avocado production and average annual temperature was the most important predictor for grazing.
Understanding the spatial changes to agriculture under future climates can inform land management decisions at various scales.



Detailed Descriptions
Case Study
070104 - Agricultural Spatial Analysis and Modelling, 070101 - Agricultural Land Management
Geographic and Temporal Extents
Cessnock (C), Singleton (A), Greater Taree (C), Upper Hunter Shire (A), Great Lakes (A), Newcastle (C), Muswellbrook (A), Dungog (A), Gloucester (A), Port Stephens (A), Maitland (C), Lake Macquarie (C)
Hunter-Central Rivers
Brigalow Belt South, NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin
Start 1990/01/01 Start text End 2035/01/01 End text
Attributions and Constraints
All rights reserved
The University of Queensland
Christine Hosking (Adams-Hosking), Morena Mills, Cath Lovelock
Christine Hosking, Morena Mills and Cath Lovelock (2014) Climate Change and Agriculture: a study for the Hunter Local Land Services NRM. Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland
Dr Christine Hosking