About this Research Topic
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) aims to i) sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes; ii) adapt and build resilience to climate change; and iii) reduce and/or remove greenhouse gas emissions. To date, CSA has focused on mitigating and adapting to the effects of long-lived pollutants (namely CO2), while neglecting Short Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) (namely aerosols and tropospheric ozone (O3)). Tropospheric O3 is the third most important greenhouse gas in terms of global mean radiative forcing, while aerosols (a collection of airborne solid or liquid particles) influence climate through aerosol-radiation and aerosol-cloud interactions. While agriculture is a cause of SLCP emissions, it can also be adversely impacted by elevated concentrations of SLCPs in the atmosphere. These impacts result from the modification of climate variables (indirect effects), and from phyto-toxicity of the pollutants upon deposition and uptake by crops (direct effects). Aerosols and O3 have atmospheric residence times in the order of days to weeks. Thus, their emission from spatially heterogeneous sources produces spatially and temporally variable atmospheric concentrations that can substantially influence regional climate variables (e.g. radiation, precipitation and air temperatures) and have dramatic effects on seasonal weather patterns, pollutant concentrations and agricultural production. Because concentrations and impacts of SLCPs can vary dramatically by geographical regions, so will the benefits of taking action on these pollutants using CSA approaches.
The aim of this Research Topic is to gather contributions from scientists working on pollution, climate and agriculture interactions within a CSA framework to help identify appropriate interventions. We welcome experimental, modelling and position papers that deal with the following themes:
• Effects of aerosol, O3 and interactions with climate variables on agricultural productivity under different SLCP and GHG emission scenarios and by different global regions.
• Agricultural practices and technology that might reduce GHG emissions, as well as emissions leading to SLCPs. For aerosols, these might include management practices that avoid the burning of agriculture residues; use of cover crops and reduced-till to limit soil erosion; and improve manure management. For O3, these might include improvements in rice paddy management and livestock breeding to reduce enteric methane emissions.
• Agricultural practices and technology to alleviate losses in productivity due to SLCPs. These could include identification of physiological crop traits to enhance tolerance (e.g. improved water use efficiencies or enhanced detoxification metabolisms); identification of regions where breeding for stress tolerant crops would be beneficial; or development and application of crop-pollution-climate modelling to support management decisions for arable crops.
• Social science studies that improve our understanding of the influence of how management practices that reduce SLCP emissions and impacts might affect agricultural livelihoods by geographical region.
All interventions should recognize the potential synergies and trade-offs between different approaches and their context (including impacts on livelihoods).
Keywords: Climate-smart agriculture, CSA, Agricultural productivity, Greenhouse gas emissions, Long-lived pollutants, Short Lived Climate Pollutants, Aerosols, Climate, Pollutants