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Coping with Climate Change and Resource Scarcity

We develop scientific multidisciplinary research focused on the adaptation of agriculture to climate change (CC) including resource scarcity and mitigation measures contributing to the sustainability and competitiveness of agriculture.

Departure assumptions:

  • The Mediterranean region (MR) is a hot spot for CC; hence Continental Portugal is expected to be greatly influenced by CC in the 21th century;
  • The country has limited natural agricultural resources (e.g., good soils and water), and these are subject of high competition from other economic sectors;
  • Irrigation is required for economic production of fruit and vegetable crops during spring and summer, which exacerbates the scarcity of water;
  • In the MR, warming is expected to be larger than the global average, with the occurrence of heat waves associated with a reduction in precipitation.
  • CC is expected to have extensive impacts on global ecosystems and specifically on the phenology and physiology of both crops and natural vegetation, thus on crop growth and yield as well as on irrigation water requirements.

This thematic line addresses:

  • Processes occurring in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, determinant for the appropriate use of resources, leading to tools for adaptation to CC (e.g. water-yield management models sensitive to CC);
  • Upgraded identification and description of processes of water use by crops and development of related management tools, particularly mathematical models;
  • Improved use of ICT for assessing water and land use through remote sensing or for better exploring the web facilities to advise farmers;
  • Drought risk management, namely exploring tele-connections and mathematical modelling;
  • Improved knowledge of phenological stages for crops and their variation (influenced by crop varieties, cultivation practices and CC);
  • Impact of CC on pests, diseases and weeds;
  • Advanced identification and use of traits to select crop landraces and perennial crop varieties relative to abiotic stresses;
  • Selection of genotypes adapted to temperature stress, water and nitrogen use efficiency;
  • Upgrading the germplasm bank and the ex-situ conservation of rare species;
  • Development of crop simulation models (interactions between genotype, climate and management options);
  • Early prediction of crop behaviour under stress conditions;
  • Improved knowledge on GHG emissions and carbon sequestration for diverse man-made and natural ecosystems.

Luís Santos Pereira

Thematic Line Coordinator

Luís Santos Pereira
Full Professor