Crop Biotech Update

Population Growth, Land Use and Climate Change to Affect West Africa's Crop Yields

October 14, 2011

Low input fallow systems in West Africa, land use effects, and population growth will have as much effect as climate change in the next decades. This was the conclusion of an article Future productivity of fallow systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: Is the effect of demographic pressure and fallow reduction more significant than climate change? published in the journal Agricultural and Forest Meteorology.

Thomas Gaiser of the University of Bonn and colleagues quantified the regional effect of future population growth on crop yields in West Africa and compared it with with the potential effects of climate change scenarios. Maize field projections were made based on projected ratio of fallow and cropland as well as land use scenarios. Results showed that maize yields followed a decreasing trend and yield reductions amounted to up to 24% in the period 2021-2050.

On the other hand, yield reductions due to projected climate change accounted for a yield decrease of up to 18% in the same period.

The full article is at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01681923/151/8