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Climate Change and Cotton Production in Modern Farming Systems. ICAC Review Articles on Cotton Production Research No. 6

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Throughout the world cotton is broadly adapted to growing in temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical environments, but growth may be challenged by future climate change. Production may be directly affected by changes in crop photosynthesis and water use due to rising CO2 and changes in regional temperature patterns. Indirect effects may result from a range of government regulations aimed at climate change mitigation. While there is certainty that future climate change will impact cotton production systems; there will be opportunities to adapt. This review begins to provide details for the formation of robust frameworks to evaluate the impact of projected climatic changes, highlight the risks and opportunities with adaptation, and details the approaches for investment in research. Ultimately, it is a multi-faceted systems-based approach that combines all elements of the cropping system that will provide the best insurance to harness the change that is occurring, and best allow cotton industries worldwide to adapt. Given that there will be no single solution for all of the challenges raised by climate change and variability, the best adaptation strategy for industry will be to develop more resilient systems. Early implementation of adaptation strategies, particularly in regard to enhancing resilience, has the potential to significantly reduce the negative impacts of climate change now and in the future.

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

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List of Abbreviations

1-MCP

ABA

ACC

Adh

AgMIP anammox

AOA

AOB

ATP

AVG

BAP

Bt

Ci

CETA

CO2

[CO2]

[eCO2]

ENSO

FACE

GA3 gs

G×E×M

GHG

GSL

HEAPS

HFI

IAA

IFM

IPM

LWP

NDVI

NOB

NUE

OTC

Pdc

PGR

PUT

QTL

R

RD

Rubisco

RuBP

RUE

SOI

SPAR

SPD

SPM

T

VFI

VPD

WUE

WUEI

1-methylcyclopropene abscisic acid

1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate alcohol dehydrogenase

Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project anaerobic ammonium oxidation ammonia oxidizing archaea ammonia oxidizing bacteria adenosine triphosphate aminoethoxyvinylglycine

6-benzylaminopurine

Bacillus thuringiensis internal CO2 concentration canopy evapotranspiration and assimilation carbon dioxide

CO2 concentration elevated CO2 concentration

El Niño-Southern Oscillation

Free Air CO2 Enrichment gibberellic acid stomatal conductance genetic × environment × management greenhouse gas growing season length

HElicoverpa Armigera and Punctigera Simulation model

Horizontal Flowering Index auxin-indole-3-acetic acid

Integrated Fibre Management

Integrated Pest Management leaf water potential

Normalized Difference Vegetation Index nitrite-oxidizing bacteria nutrient use efficiency open top chambers pyruvate decarboxylase plant growth regulators putrescine quantitative trait loci rainfall dark respiration ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate radiation use efficiency

 

SUMMARY

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Summary

Worldwide, cotton is already broadly adapted to growing in temperate, subtropical and tropical environments, but growth may be challenged by future climate change. Production may be directly affected by changes in crop photosynthesis and water use due to rising CO2 and changes in regional temperature patterns. Indirect effects of climate change will likely result from a range of government regulations aimed at climate change mitigation. These impacts will also occur in light of other pressures that will be placed on cotton production systems, such as reductions in land and water availability, rising costs of production and a decline in trade as a result of competition from other commodities and man-made fibre.

The essence of this review is to:

1. Summarize the impacts and challenges that climate change will have on cotton production in different regions across the world.

2. Compile and summarize climate change impacts on cotton growth and production.

3. Document research and management practices that may help with adaptation relevant to modern cotton farming systems.

 

I INTRODUCTION

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I Introduction

Cotton is a natural fibre produced by four different species of Gossypium. Approximately 95% of the cotton is produced by the G. hirsutum L. species; therefore, this review will concentrate primarily on that species, with a few exceptions. Cotton is used every day in the form of clothing made from cotton fibre and products made from cotton-seed oil. Cotton is the most widely produced natural fibre in the world, but there is increasing competition from man-made fibres.

Cotton seed is a by-product of the more valuable cotton fibre and is a valued raw material for food oils for human consumption and high protein feed for livestock.

Cotton is a perennial shrub with an indeterminate growth habit and although it grows naturally to 3.5 m in the tropics, it is grown commercially as an annual crop. Wild ancestors of cotton are found in arid regions, often with high daytime temperatures and cool nights, and are naturally adapted to surviving long periods of hot dry weather. Modern cultivars have inherited these attributes, making the cotton crop well adapted to the intermittent water supply that occurs with rainfed (dryland) and irrigated production (Hearn, 1980). Compared with other field crops, however, its growth and development are complex consequences of the indeterminate habit. Vegetative and reproductive growth occurs simultaneously, sometimes making interpretation of the crop’s response to climate and management difficult.

 

II CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON MAJOR COTTON PRODUCTION REGIONS

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I Introduction

Cotton is a natural fibre produced by four different species of Gossypium. Approximately 95% of the cotton is produced by the G. hirsutum L. species; therefore, this review will concentrate primarily on that species, with a few exceptions. Cotton is used every day in the form of clothing made from cotton fibre and products made from cotton-seed oil. Cotton is the most widely produced natural fibre in the world, but there is increasing competition from man-made fibres.

Cotton seed is a by-product of the more valuable cotton fibre and is a valued raw material for food oils for human consumption and high protein feed for livestock.

Cotton is a perennial shrub with an indeterminate growth habit and although it grows naturally to 3.5 m in the tropics, it is grown commercially as an annual crop. Wild ancestors of cotton are found in arid regions, often with high daytime temperatures and cool nights, and are naturally adapted to surviving long periods of hot dry weather. Modern cultivars have inherited these attributes, making the cotton crop well adapted to the intermittent water supply that occurs with rainfed (dryland) and irrigated production (Hearn, 1980). Compared with other field crops, however, its growth and development are complex consequences of the indeterminate habit. Vegetative and reproductive growth occurs simultaneously, sometimes making interpretation of the crop’s response to climate and management difficult.

 

III CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON COTTON GROWTH AND PRODUCTION

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emission scenarios. However, emission scenarios of projected atmospheric [CO2] vary considerably with time. For example, atmospheric [CO2] in 2100 is projected to increase from 500 to 900

μmol mol−1 across greenhouse gas (GHG) scenarios (Nakicenovic and Swart, 2000). These scenarios involve assumptions about demographic, economic and technological factors likely to influence future economic development and GHG emissions. Scenarios depend on factors such as rates of population increase, global economic growth and humanity’s relative success or failure at slowing emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas (Braganza and Church, 2011).

III Climate Change Impacts on Cotton Growth and Production

Elevated [CO2] ([eCO2])-induced climate change could affect cotton production practices and change the historic location of cotton production around the world. Table 1 summarizes some current research efforts, climate indicators and potential results in major cotton-producing

Table 1.  Summary of changes in climate and impact indicators for cotton producing regions throughout the world.

 

IV MANAGEMENT APPROACHES TO ADAPT TO IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

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N2O produced as a by-product of denitrification processes is a GHG 298 times more potent than

CO2, and it is estimated that agriculture contributes approximately 58% of total anthropogenic

N2O emission (IPCC, 2007b). Irrigated cropping systems with a large N fertilizer input are particularly susceptible to N2O emissions, particularly during heavy rainfall events (Harris et al.,

2013). Several studies have estimated that only ~1% of applied N is lost as N2O during the cotton-­ growing season from flood-irrigated alkaline clay soils in Australia (Rochester, 2003; Grace et al.,

2010). This is largely due to the high soil pH of the studied system, as alkaline soils produce relatively less N2O than N2 during denitrification. In fact, it is estimated that approximately

16% of applied N is lost through denitrification as N2O and N2. Furthermore, recent studies have identified the occurrence of bacteria responsible for anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox)

– a process that converts ammonium and nitrite into dinitrogen in agricultural soils (Humbert et al.,

 

V ROLE OF RESEARCH IN MODERN COTTON SYSTEMS ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE

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the soil profile; (ii) further implement controlled traffic systems; and (iii) seek to reduce moisture in the profile at picking. In the case of irrigated systems, it will be necessary to have appropriate scheduling of the last irrigation to reduce the risk of moist profiles at the end of the season.

V Role of Research in Modern Cotton Systems Adapting to Climate

Change

The cotton industry covers a large geographical region and thus is already experiencing a wide range of climatic extremes. Subsequently, technologies and systems have been developed to mitigate high temperature and water stress. Photosynthetic acclimation occurs in cotton

(Downton and Slatyer, 1972) and plants occupying thermally contrasting environments generally exhibit photosynthetic responses that reflect adaptation to the temperature regimes of their respective habitats (Berry and Bjorkman, 1980). For example, cotton is successfully grown at temperatures in excess of 40°C in India and Pakistan (e.g. Table 5) indicating some adaptation and successful breeding selection.

 

VI CONCLUSION

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I­ mprovement Project (AgMIP) (Thorp et al., 2014; Schiermeier, 2015). The second need is to form multidisciplinary teams in the areas of climate science, crop science, computer science, and economics to improve, validate and apply these models. These approaches could specifically be applied to address both impacts and adaptation options for climate change for many of the concerns listed in this review.

VI Conclusion

Future climate change will impact cotton production systems; however, there will be opportunities to adapt. This review begins to provide details for the formation of robust frameworks to evaluate the impact of projected climatic changes, highlight the risks and opportunities with adaptation, and detail the approaches for investment in research. Major matters that were identified were:

• Climate change will have both positive and negative effects on cotton. Increased [CO2] may increase yield in well-watered crops, and higher temperatures will extend the length of growing season (especially in current short-season areas). However, higher temperatures also have the potential to cause significant fruit loss, lower yields and alter fibre quality, and reduced water use efficiencies. Extreme weather events such as droughts, heatwaves and flooding also pose significant risks to improvements in cotton productivity.

 

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