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CR prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01631

Predicting suitability of wheat and maize cultivation under future climate change scenarios in Pakistan

Nusaiba Khubaib, Saeed A. Asad, Tayyaba Khalil, Ayesha Baig, Salman Atif, Muhammad Umar, J├╝rgen P. Kropp, Prajal Pradhan, Sofia Baig*

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Agriculture is vastly impacted by climate change which leads to the situation of food security or insecurity at both regional and global levels. Pakistan is predicted to go through an area reduction and geographical shifting of major crops in the near future. The present study asseses the potential future distribution of Wheat and Maize in Pakistan. Based on current location of these crops, Maxent species distribution model is used to predict future changes in crop distribution. 58 presence records for wheat and 48 presence records for maize are used. Model is simulated for current and future climate change scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5) using CMIP5 model, MPI-ESM-LR. Results from the model show a decline in production area, where wheat undergoes 30% to 35% reduction and maize 23% to 36% reduction depending upon climate change scenarios, RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5. The model predictions are highly accurate with test AUC values of 0.88 for wheat and 0.89 for maize which are higher than 0.5 of a null-model. A Jackknife test for variable importance indicates that irrigation, precipitation seasonality and precipitation of 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. The study can aid policy makers in devising policies which can help reduce the threat of future food insecurity in the region.