Unaltered environmental changes could decrease global vegetable production

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In the United Kingdom, a study led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is the first to systematically examine the extent to which projected changes such as increases in temperature and reduced water availability could affect the production and nutritional quality of common crops such as tomatoes, leafy vegetables and pulses.

If no action is taken to reduce the negative impacts on agricultural yields, the researchers estimate that the environmental changes predicted to occur by mid- to end-century in water availability and ozone concentrations would reduce average yields of vegetables and legumes by 35 percent and 9 percent respectively. In hot settings such as Southern Europe and large parts of Africa and South Asia, increased air temperatures would reduce average vegetable yields by an estimated 31 percent.

To mitigate the risks that future environmental changes pose to crops, innovations to improve agricultural production must be a priority.