Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Pace of Climate Change Too Hot for Crops

New study shows that the speed of climate change is now much too great for grassland species of vital food crops to adapt and survive.

The glaring sun beats down on a field of wheat. (Image Credit: )Rick via Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Climate change is happening faster than many species can adapt to − and climate is changing between 3,000 and 20,000 times faster than many grassland species can respond.

Since the grass family includes wheat, corn, rice, sorghum, oats, rye, barley and many other plants that underwrite human survival, this is serious news.

Although the new research by scientists in the US does not directly address the future of food in a globally warming world, the researchers say their finding has “troubling” implications.
Put bluntly, all flesh is grass, because all carnivores depend on herbivores and herbivores depend on grass.

Humans gain at least 49% of their calories directly from the cereals developed from wild grasses, and – since all the domesticated species have a more limited genetic inheritance than their wild ancestors – evolutionary adaptation seems unlikely.  Wild varieties, too, could be endangered by climate change.

“Even local declines may be devastating for some human populations,” the Arizona scientists warn.  “Strong reductions in crop yields are already predicted.”

Read more at Pace of Climate Change Too Hot for Crops

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