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Title: Synergistic contributions of climate and management intensifications to maize yield trends from 1961 to 2017

Understanding contributions of climate and management intensifications to crop yield trends is essential to better adapt to climate changes and gauge future food security. Here we quantified the synergistic contributions of climate and management intensifications to maize yield trends from 1961 to 2017 in Iowa (United States) using a process-based modeling approach with a detailed climatic and agronomic observation database. We found that climate (management intensifications) contributes to approximately 10% (90%), 26% (74%), and 31% (69%) of the yield trends during 1961–2017, 1984–2013, and 1982–1998, respectively. However, the climate contributions show substantial decadal or multi-decadal variations, with the maximum decadal yield trends induced by temperature or radiation changes close to management intensifications induced trends while considerably larger than precipitation induced trends. Management intensifications can produce more yield gains with increased precipitation but greater losses of yields with increased temperature, with extreme drought conditions diminishing the yield gains, while radiation changes have little effect on yield gains from management intensifications. Under the management condition of recent years, the average trend at the higher warming level was about twice lower than that at the lower warming level, and the sensitivity of yield to warming temperature increased with management intensifications from 1961 to 2017. Due to such synergistic effects, management intensifications must account for global warming and incorporate climate adaptation strategies to secure future crop productions. Additional research is needed to understand how plausible adaptation strategies can mitigate synergistic effects from climate and management intensifications.

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Award ID(s):
2144293 1922687
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
IOP Publishing
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Article No. 024020
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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