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Sci Total Environ. 2016 Oct 1;566-567:851-864. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.144. Epub 2016 May 31.

Key challenges and priorities for modelling European grasslands under climate change.

Author information

1
IBERS, Aberystwyth University, 1st Floor, Stapledon Building, Plas Gogerddan, Aberystwyth Ceredigion, SY23 3EE, UK. Electronic address: rpk@aber.ac.uk.
2
Green Technology, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Halolantie 31 A, 71750 Maaninka, Finland. Electronic address: perttu.virkajarvi@luke.fi.
3
Leibniz Universität Hannover, Institut für Gartenbauliche Produktionssysteme, Systemmodellierung Gemüsebau, Herrenhäuser Straße 2, 30419 Hannover, Germany. Electronic address: breitsameter@gem.uni-hannover.de.
4
Farming Systems, Territories and Information Technologies Unit, Walloon Agricultural Research Centre (CRA-W), 9 rue de Liroux, B-5030 Gembloux, Belgium. Electronic address: y.curnel@cra.wallonie.be.
5
ILVO, Plant Sciences Unit, Caritasstraat 39, 9090 Melle, Belgium. Electronic address: tom.deswaef@ilvo.vlaanderen.be.
6
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Department of Agricultural Research for Northern, Umeå, SE 901 83, Sweden. Electronic address: Anne-Maj.Gustavsson@slu.se.
7
Farming Systems, Territories and Information Technologies Unit, Walloon Agricultural Research Centre (CRA-W), 9 rue de Liroux, B-5030 Gembloux, Belgium.
8
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Po. Box 115, NO -1431 Ås, Norway.
9
Green Technology, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Halolantie 31 A, 71750 Maaninka, Finland.
10
Arlon Campus Environnement, University of Liège, Avenue de Longwy 185, 6700 Arlon, Belgium. Electronic address: julien.minet@ulg.ac.be.
11
Institute of Landscape Systems Analysis, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Eberswalder Straße 84, 15374, Müncheberg, Germany. Electronic address: nendel@zalf.de.
12
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Po. Box 115, NO -1431 Ås, Norway. Electronic address: Tomas.Persson@nibio.no.
13
UREP, INRA, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
14
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegraphenberg A31, 14473 Potsdam, Germany. Electronic address: rolinski@pik-potsdam.de.
15
Cranfield University, School of Energy, Environment, and Agri-food, College Road, Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK.
16
IBERS, Aberystwyth University, 1st Floor, Stapledon Building, Plas Gogerddan, Aberystwyth Ceredigion, SY23 3EE, UK.
17
Wageningen UR Livestock Research, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands.
18
NRD, Desertification Research Centre; Dept. of Agriculture, University of Sassari, Viale Italia 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy. Electronic address: gseddaiu@uniss.it.
19
SRUC, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK. Electronic address: Kairsty.Topp@sruc.ac.uk.
20
Institute of Technology and Life Sciences at Falenty, Malopolska Research Centre in Krakow, 31-450 Krakow, ul. Ulanow 21B, Poland. Electronic address: itepkrak@itep.edu.pl.
21
Wageningen UR Livestock Research, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: jantine.vanmiddelkoop@wur.nl.
22
Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, Okehampton EX20 2SB, UK. Electronic address: Lianhai.Wu@rothamsted.ac.uk.
23
UREP, INRA, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France. Electronic address: gianni.bellocchi@clermont.inra.fr.

Abstract

Grassland-based ruminant production systems are integral to sustainable food production in Europe, converting plant materials indigestible to humans into nutritious food, while providing a range of environmental and cultural benefits. Climate change poses significant challenges for such systems, their productivity and the wider benefits they supply. In this context, grassland models have an important role in predicting and understanding the impacts of climate change on grassland systems, and assessing the efficacy of potential adaptation and mitigation strategies. In order to identify the key challenges for European grassland modelling under climate change, modellers and researchers from across Europe were consulted via workshop and questionnaire. Participants identified fifteen challenges and considered the current state of modelling and priorities for future research in relation to each. A review of literature was undertaken to corroborate and enrich the information provided during the horizon scanning activities. Challenges were in four categories relating to: 1) the direct and indirect effects of climate change on the sward 2) climate change effects on grassland systems outputs 3) mediation of climate change impacts by site, system and management and 4) cross-cutting methodological issues. While research priorities differed between challenges, an underlying theme was the need for accessible, shared inventories of models, approaches and data, as a resource for stakeholders and to stimulate new research. Developing grassland models to effectively support efforts to tackle climate change impacts, while increasing productivity and enhancing ecosystem services, will require engagement with stakeholders and policy-makers, as well as modellers and experimental researchers across many disciplines. The challenges and priorities identified are intended to be a resource 1) for grassland modellers and experimental researchers, to stimulate the development of new research directions and collaborative opportunities, and 2) for policy-makers involved in shaping the research agenda for European grassland modelling under climate change.

KEYWORDS:

Climate change; Grasslands; Horizon scanning; Livestock production; Models; Research agenda

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