Analysing the links between agriculture and climate change: can 'best management practices' be responsive to climate extremes?
Rural communities the world over depend on agriculturally–based livelihoods. In the Canadian prairies, access to sufficient quality and quantity of water can be challenging. Agriculture is fundamentally susceptible to access to water during critical crop germination and growth periods. Climate change models for the Canadian prairies indicate, in general, that summer growing seasons will experience less frequent, but larger precipitation events. The anticipated results of a changing climate include more frequent spring flooding and a new climate regime that requires more proactive water management to ensure availability of adequate supplies at optimal times to support and sustain agricultural production. Multi–disciplinary research is investigating, quantifying, and critically assessing currently purported beneficial management practices (BMPs) for agriculture to determine rural community vulnerability and adaptability to climate change. The presentation includes research results from field scale implementation and testing of BMPs, interviews of rural communities and residents, and quantitative evaluations of rural economies, development, and adaptation strategies.
Keywords: beneficial management practices, BMPs, agriculture, water quality, water quantity, vulnerability, climate change, best practice, climate extremes, rural communities, rural areas, Canadian prairies, Canada, flooding, water management, agricultural production, adaptability