Evaluation of climate change impacts and adaptation strategies for maize cultivation in the Himalayan foothills of India

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This study evaluates the impacts of climate change on rainfed maize (Zea mays) yield and evaluates different agro-adaptation measures to counteract its negative impacts at Sikkim, a Himalayan state of India. Future climate scenarios for the 10 years centered on 2025, 2055 and 2085 were obtained by downscaling the outputs of the HadCM3 General Circulation Model (GCM) under for A2 and B2 emission scenarios. HadCM3 was chosen after assessing the performance analysis of six GCMs for the study region. The daily maximum and minimum temperatures are projected to rise in the future and precipitation is projected to decrease (by 1.7 to 22.6% relative to the 1991–2000 baseline) depending on the time period and scenarios considered. The crop simulation model CERES-Maize was then used to simulate maize yield under future climate change for the future time windows. Simulation results show that climate change could reduce maize productivity by 10.7–18.2%, compared to baseline yield, under A2 and 6.4–12.4% under B2 scenarios. However, the results also indicate that the projected decline in maize yield could be offset by early planting of seeds, lowering the farm yard manure application rate, introducing supplementary irrigation and shifting to heat tolerant varieties of maize.

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