Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 498982
Title Flexible strategies for coping with rainfall variability : Seasonal adjustments in cropped area in the Ganges basin
Author(s) Siderius, Christian; Biemans, Hester; Walsum, Paul E.V. Van; Ierland, Ekko C. Van; Kabat, Pavel; Hellegers, Petra J.G.J.
Source PLoS One 11 (2016)3. - ISSN 1932-6203
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149397
Department(s) Alterra - Climate change and adaptive land and water management
Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group
WIMEK
WASS
Earth System Science
Water Resources Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Abstract

One of the main manifestations of climate change will be increased rainfall variability. How to deal with this in agriculture will be a major societal challenge. In this paper we explore flexibility in land use, through deliberate seasonal adjustments in cropped area, as a specific strategy for coping with rainfall variability. Such adjustments are not incorporated in hydro-meteorological crop models commonly used for food security analyses. Our paper contributes to the literature by making a comprehensive model assessment of inter-annual variability in crop production, including both variations in crop yield and cropped area. The Ganges basin is used as a case study. First, we assessed the contribution of cropped area variability to overall variability in rice and wheat production by applying hierarchical partitioning on time-series of agricultural statistics. We then introduced cropped area as an endogenous decision variable in a hydro-economic optimization model (WaterWise), coupled to a hydrology-vegetation model (LPJmL), and analyzed to what extent its performance in the estimation of inter-annual variability in crop production improved. From the statistics, we found that in the period 1999-2009 seasonal adjustment in cropped area can explain almost 50% of variability in wheat production and 40% of variability in rice production in the Indian part of the Ganges basin. Our improved model was well capable of mimicking existing variability at different spatial aggregation levels, especially for wheat. The value of flexibility, i.e. the foregone costs of choosing not to crop in years when water is scarce, was quantified at 4% of gross margin of wheat in the Indian part of the Ganges basin and as high as 34% of gross margin of wheat in the drought-prone state of Rajasthan. We argue that flexibility in land use is an important coping strategy to rainfall variability in water stressed regions.

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