Assessing Climate Change Impacts
on China’s Agro-Ecosystem

Researchers created a multi-scale agro-ecosystem model by combining two leading crop models to allow farm- and regional-level agricultural dynamics to be studied and strategies developed to respond to climate change-induced changes in agriculture in China.

2012 iStockphoto LP

2012 iStockphoto LP


This project, “Assessing the Impact of Climate Change and Intensive Human Activities on China's Agro-Ecosystem and its Supply Potentials,” brought together researchers from IIASA and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) to conduct analysis using a new multi-scale agro-ecosystem model  developed to build on the strengths of two leading crop models already in use – Decision Support System for Agro-technology Transfer (DSSAT), and the Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZ). The project used the new model to identify climate change adaptation options for China’s agricultural sector.

The new integrated model allows for a novel and much needed approach to analyze farm-level (DSSAT) and regional (AEZ) agricultural dynamics and associated water relations. The integrated modeling framework was validated with field observation data, remote sensing data, and socio-economic statistical datasets. Thirty-year (1981-2010) observed agriculture site data were used to test model predictions for recent climate change impacts on Chinese agriculture production.

Future short-term and long-term climate impacts were analyzed by driving a regional climate model with results from two general circulation models to simulate changes in crop productivity and water use. The agronomic impacts of future climate-induced changes of Chinese agricultural systems were assessed using a spatial agro-system model and county-level databases of IIASA’s CHINAGRO framework.

The results  provide an important contribution to global research on the ability of agricultural systems to adapt to climate change. The research also provides support for the development of policy decisions that enable sustainable adaptation of China’s agriculture to globalization and climate change.

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Last edited: 03 June 2014


Laixiang Sun

Senior Research Scholar


T +43(0) 2236 807 543

Günther Fischer

Senior Research Scholar


T +43(0) 2236 807 292


01.01.2010 - 31,12,2012



See also:

Climate Change Adaptation and Food Security in China

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313