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CR 38:83-94 (2008)  -  DOI:

Climate–crop yield relationships at provincial scales in China and the impacts of recent climate trends

Fulu Tao1,*, Masayuki Yokozawa2, Jiyuan Liu1, Zhao Zhang3

1Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, 3-1-3 Kannondai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8604, Japan
3State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

ABSTRACT: Understanding climate–yield relationships and the impacts of recent climate trends on crop productivity on a large scale is an important step in predicting regional agricultural production. In this study we investigated climate–crop relationships, recent trends in seasonal climate (maximum and minimum temperatures, diurnal temperature range and precipitation) and their impacts on the yields of major crops (i.e. rice, wheat, maize and soybean) at provincial scales throughout China over the last few decades. We found that major crop yields were significantly related to growing season climate in the main production regions of China, and that growing season temperature had a generally significant warming trend. Due to the trends in growing season climate, total rice production in China was estimated to have increased by 3.2 × 105 t decade–1 during the period 1951–2002; total production of wheat, maize and soybean changed by –1.2 × 105, –21.2 × 105 and 0.7 × 105 t decade–1, respectively, during 1979–2002. The warming trend increased rice yield in northeast China and soybean in north and northeast China; however, it decreased maize yield in 7 provinces (autonomous region or municipality) and wheat yield in 3 provinces. Our analysis presents the general response patterns of regional agricultural productivity to seasonal climate variability and change over the last few decades. Crop response mechanisms to local seasonal climate change (and variability) need further investigation to better understand the patterns and predict future consequences of climate change and variability on regional agricultural production.

KEY WORDS: Agriculture · China · Climate change · Food security · Impacts · Yield variability

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Cite this article as: Tao F, Yokozawa M, Liu J, Zhang Z (2008) Climate–crop yield relationships at provincial scales in China and the impacts of recent climate trends. Clim Res 38:83-94.

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