The Other CSA: Climate Smart Agriculture
Logan, J.  2015.  Annual meeting of the American Society of Horticultural Science., New Orleans, LA. Aug 3-6, 2015.  (invited)

Abstract:
According to the National Climate Assessment, U.S. average temperature has increased almost 2 F since 1895, and most of this increase has occurred since 1970. The most recent decade was the nation’s and the world’s hottest on record, and 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental United States. Temperatures are projected to rise another 2°F to 4°F in most areas of the United States over the next few decades. In addition, most areas of the U.S. have observed an increase in very heavy precipitation, ranging from 5% in the Southwest to 71% in the Northeast, and this trend is expected to continue as the atmosphere warms. Agriculture significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and yet is especially vulnerable to consequences of climate change. Globally, agriculture contributes 30 to 40 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Climate smart agriculture is the alignment of food security, sustainable production, climate resiliency, and greenhouse gas mitigation, and should be promoted on a nationwide scale. Horticultural practitioners are in the perfect position to implement CSA. Vegetable and fruit production is intrinsically diversified, which automatically fosters a certain level of security and sustainability. There is also a rich tradition of incorporation of genetic variability such as heritage and heirloom varieties, integrated pest management, and organic production. Although carbon dioxide enrichment has a direct benefit on plants, projected increases in temperature will have a wide range of effects on fruits and vegetables such as growing season, heat stress, chilling, disease and pest pressure and transmission, evapotranspiration, soil erosion, nutrient and pesticide availability and runoff, storage, growth and development, frost, water resources, and greenhouse management. In addition, the horticultural workforce will be greatly impacted by rising temperatures. Strategies such as improved water management, reduced tillage, efficient storage and transportation, promotion of local markets, optimal fertilizer use, better harvest efficiency, diversification, integrated pest management, and incorporation of legumes and cover crops are examples of strategies that not only increase climate resiliency, but also serve as mitigation schemes to reduce emissions either directly or indirectly.