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Climate Change and Weeds

Climate Change is already well underway. Among greenhouse gases, CO2 concentrations are now 417 ppm on average.

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Climate-Resilient Integrated Weed Management

Ensuring future food and nutritional security, while reducing poverty are significant global challenges. This is especially true in the Asian-Pacific region, characterized by rapid population growth, food shortages and landuse changes. The region is already affected by a changing climate with increased periods of droughts and rainfall in some countries.

 

Efforts to increase crop productivity and reduce existing crop yield gaps are critically-important to meet the targeted food and nutritional security goals in the region. This requires identifying and addressing constraints, such as the changes in weed flora and alleviating the negative effects of weed abundance in cropping fields with sustainable technologies.

Climate-Resilient Integrated Weed Management (CRIWM) is a new term that has emerged to assist in this effort. CRIWM is an intensely-focused approach that aims to increase crop productivity sustainably, while simultaneously reducing the adverse effects of weeds and greenhouse gas emissions of agricultural practices. CRIWM can be used to re-energize educating all those involved in agriculture to plan for uncertainties in weed management outcomes under a changing climate.

 

The approach requires doing what has been done so far in managing weeds even better. Targeted research must explore new combinations of already well-established methods (such as conservation farming, regenerative agriculture, soil health and cultural weed control practices, as well as biological and chemical weed control) with an eye for options to reduce reliance on any one technique alone. Precision weed control robotics and other ‘climate-smart’ innovations (such as the use of solar-powered equipment) appear crucial in planning for more effective weed management under climate change.

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