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Climate change impact on Pakistan Agriculture and Natural Resources

Climate change is a major global concern and Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Change in climate is a major threat to food production in Pakistan. CC is seriously affecting agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Climate change increasing sea levels that may submerge many parts of the coastal areas of Sindh which are not only rich delta but also high productive cropping areas. Climate change has negative impacts on overall crop productivity would be noticed by 2050. Climate change increases the temperature by around 1 degree Fahrenheit so it reduces cereal yields in South Asia by 10%.

Climate change is affecting fisheries in Pakistan with water pollution, increased sea surface temperature and changing precipitation patterns. Climate change also affects forests in Pakistan which reduces their productivity resulting in deforestation etc. For example, CC increases the intensity of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, droughts etc. Floods can damage crops like maize, rice or sugarcane when they are young; whereas Cyclone destroys trees mostly planted for timber purposes. Climate changes also cause health problems due to air pollution coming from industries resulting in global warming. Climate change’s effect on water resources can significantly alter agricultural output including the seasonality of crops, plant diseases and pests.

Pakistan’s annual mean surface air temperature has risen by more than 0.5°C since 1960, while night-time temperatures have increased even faster, rising by around 1.0°C. Climate change impacts can be seen throughout Pakistan with a significant rise in average temperatures in higher altitudes and rising sea levels along with coastal areas.

Pakistan Climate Change Council (PCCC) says that Climate change will affect Pakistani agriculture badly and it might reduce wheat and rice production in the country by almost 25 percent. CC is a major hurdle for the agricultural sector. The Climate Change phenomenon has emerged as a key issue of concern due to its potential impact on weather and the atmosphere. Climate is dynamic in nature but humans cannot change it completely rather they can only moderate its effects through improved understanding and sound management practices. Climate conditions are expected to continue to undergo changes in the future which will affect the natural resources such as soil, water, biodiversity and ecosystem services that further play significant roles in supporting agriculture especially irrigation farming (FAO).

Climate change Impact on Forests

Climate change has a direct impact on forests at regional and global scales, and in some cases leads to their degradation by directly affecting their physiological processes. CC is likely to lead to a widespread reduction of forest cover and changes in forest disturbances, such as fires, pest outbreaks and storms. Climate change could dislocate populations from marginal habitats such as small islands or high mountains (FAO).

Climate change Impact on water resources

Climate change will affect water resources in all its forms and some of the impacts of climate change on water resources could already be observed. Climate change is likely to reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources in most dry subtropical regions, impacting livelihoods dependent on farming and producing adverse effects for food security. Climate Change would also lead to increased flood risk and potential loss of life. Climate Change projections indicate that an increase in heavy rainfall over most parts of India is very likely under the Climate Change scenario.

Climate change Impact on Ecosystems

Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. Climate change would impact ecosystems significantly which could have a potential effect on the provisioning of ecosystem services such as food, water, energy and medicine. Climate change may have a negative impact on the availability of food from forests in some locations, though it is expected to increase crop productivity in temperate high-latitude regions. Climate Change would further affect coastal ecosystems along with natural resources like terrestrial vegetation, oceans and coasts. Climate change is also expected to have long-term adverse impacts on biodiversity.

Climate change Impact on Biodiversity

Biodiversity has tremendous significance for humanity at all levels because of its role in ecosystem services. Biodiversity is significantly affected by Climate change which could have a potential effect on the provisioning of ecosystem services such as food, water, energy and medicine (IPCC). CC is expected to cause the loss of some species and changes in genetic diversity (FAO). Climate Change projections indicate that an increase in heavy rainfall over most parts of Pakistan is very likely under the Climate Change scenario which could have adverse effects on coastal ecosystems along with natural resources like terrestrial vegetation, oceans and coasts (UNEP-SBCI).

Climate change Impact on Livestock

The livestock sector is an important component of agriculture and it contributes to economic growth and poverty reduction. Climate change would impact livestock production through its potential effects on food availability, feed, fodder, forage quality and quantity.

Possible changes after Climate Change

Higher temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns will affect crops yields. CC may lead to higher crop yield in some countries but it may reduce crop yield in many other regions, higher temperatures and more carbon dioxide (CO2) will affect soil health, water availability and some crops may not survive. Climate change will exacerbate already existing problems of land degradation, land-use conflicts, desertification, deforestation, water scarcity, etc. Climate change is expected to increase drought frequency which will reduce yields of rain-fed crops.

Yields are also likely to decline in many important food staples such as wheat, rice, maize and even the main cash crop cotton depending upon the changes in rainfall pattern. Climate change is expected to negatively impact livestock productivity and the availability of fodder. CC would also lead to increased flood risk and potential loss of life (FAO). Climate change projections indicate that an increase in heavy rainfall over most parts of Pakistan is very likely under the Climate Change scenario which could have adverse effects on crop production (UNEP-SBCI).

Steps to tackle Climate change in Pakistan

The agriculture sector requires immediate attention because it is highly vulnerable to climate change compared to other sectors like industrial or fisheries. Climate changes adaptation strategies should be identified for different commodities considering factors like water availability, extreme weather events pest and disease pressure at the national level. Climate change has the potential to create devastating effects on agriculture leading to famine and food insecurity among poor people if not tackled with well-designed adaptation policies. Climate change will be less favourable for already water-stressed areas, where most of the irrigation systems are fed by surface water sources such as rivers, canals, etc which are highly sensitive to climate variability.

  1. Climate change can be tackled by bringing reforms in the agriculture sector with a strong focus on water harvesting, river rehabilitation and conservation of natural resources.
  2. CC is inevitable therefore the government should take steps to tackle its impact on food security through effective policymaking.
  3. CC should be considered as an adaptation or mitigation tool for creating sustainable policies in order to deal with the issues of food security.
  4. Climate change has the potential to cause famine and food insecurity if not tackled properly therefore it is important to support government initiatives regarding climate change policymaking.
  5. Climate change should be considered a national priority due to its impact on people, the environment and the economy.
  6. People are fighting Climate Change effects all over Pakistan by developing Climate Change adapted agriculture practices at their home farms.

CC ~Climate Change

Learn More

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  2. Rice Transplanters: A worthwhile investment for rice farmers – Times Agriculture 
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  4. Maize Soybean Intercropping | Different stages view | UAF | Faisalabad | Pakistan – Times Agriculture 
  5. First National Research Centre of Intercropping (NRCI) established at IUB Pakistan. – Times Agriculture 
  6. Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Seeding Rice (DSR) – Times Agriculture 
  7. Agronomy One Liner Questions for Agriculture Jobs

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