Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Seminar: Toward Food Sustainability in a Warmer World

David Lobell
Assistant Professor, Earth System Science
Stanford University

Thursday, October 7, 2010
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Bren Hall 1414

There is little disagreement now that the climate is changing, and that such changes could fundamentally affect humanity's collective ability to feed itself. However, there is little systematic knowledge of where climate effects will hit hardest, or how agriculture and the broader society might adapt to a rapidly changing climate. Although adaptation decisions are made at a range of spatial and temporal scales, this talk will focus on identifying global priorities over the next decade for adaptation. Possible approaches to setting priorities include identifying crops and regions that are most at risk of climate-induced yield shocks, identifying crop technologies that are most likely to produce effective adaptation, and identifying sectors of the population that are most vulnerable to food price increases. This talk will examine these approaches highlighting new data and model results.

David Lobell is an assistant professor in environmental earth system science at Stanford University and a Center Fellow in Stanford's Program on Food Security and the Environment. His research focuses on identifying opportunities to raise crop yields in major agricultural regions, with a particular emphasis on adaptation to climate change. His current projects span Africa, South Asia, Mexico, and the United States, and involve a range of tools including remote sensing, GIS, and crop and climate models.

Lobell's work is motivated by questions such as: What investments are most effective at raising global crop yields, in order to increase food production without expansion of agricultural lands? Will yield gains be able to keep pace with global demand for crop products, given current levels of investment? And what direct or indirect effects will efforts to raise crop productivity have on other components of the Earth system, such as climate? Answering these requires an understanding of the complex factors that limit crop yields throughout the world, and the links between agriculture and the broader Earth system.

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