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CR 83:15-25 (2021)  -  DOI:

Predicting areas suitable for wheat and maize cultivation under future climate change scenarios in Pakistan

Nusaiba Khubaib1, Saeed A. Asad2, Tayyaba Khalil1, Ayesha Baig3, Salman Atif4, Muhammad Umar4, Jürgen P. Kropp5, Prajal Pradhan5, Sofia Baig1,*

1National University of Sciences and Technology, Institute of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (IESE), H-12 sector, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
2Centre For Climate Change Research and Development (CCRD), COMSATS University, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
3Biotechnology Department, COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad Campus, Abbottabad, KPK 22060, Pakistan
4National University of Sciences and Technology, Institute of Geographic Information System (IGIS), H-12 sector, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
5Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Member of the Leibniz Association, PO Box 60 12 03, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Agriculture is greatly impacted by climate change, which can lead to situations of food security or insecurity at both regional and global levels. Pakistan is predicted to experience an area reduction and geographical shifting of major crops in the near future. In the present study, we assessed the potential future distribution of wheat and maize in Pakistan. Based on current locations of these crops, we ran a Maxent species distribution model to predict future changes in crop distributions. We used 58 presence records for wheat and 48 presence records for maize. The model simulated current and future climate change scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5) based on the CMIP5 model, MPI-ESM-LR. Results from our model showed a decline in production area, with a 30-35% reduction in wheat and a 23-36% reduction in maize in the year 2070, depending upon which climate change scenario was modelled (i.e. RCP 4.5 or RCP 8.5). The model predictions were highly accurate, with test AUC values of 0.88 for wheat and 0.89 for maize. A jackknife test for variable importance indicated that irrigation, precipitation seasonality and precipitation of the warmest quarter are the most important environmental variables determining the potential geographic distribution of the crops. Due to the varying severity and nature of climate impacts, adaptation strategies are needed. This study can aid policy makers in devising policies that can help reduce the threat of future food insecurity in the region.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Crop distribution · Maxent · Food security · Species distribution modelling

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Cite this article as: Khubaib N, Asad SA, Khalil T, Baig A and others (2021) Predicting areas suitable for wheat and maize cultivation under future climate change scenarios in Pakistan. Clim Res 83:15-25.

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