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How Do Weather and Climate Influence Cropping Area and Intensity?

  • Ramankutty, N.
  • Iizumi, T.

Most studies of the influence of weather and climate on food production have examined the influence on crop yields. However, climate influences all components of crop production, includes cropping area (area planted or harvested) and cropping intensity (number of crops grown within a year). Although yield increases have predominantly contributed to increased crop production over the recent decades, increased cropping area as well as increases in cropping intensity, especially in the tropics, have played a substantial role. Therefore, we need to consider these important aspects of production to get a more complete understanding of the future impacts of climate change. This article reviews available evidence on how climate might influence these under-studied components of crop production. We also discuss how farmer decision making and technology might modulate the production response to climate. We conclude by discussing important knowledge gaps that need to be addressed in future research and potential ways for moving forward.

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