Agrosysteemkunde / Agrosystems Research, Agrosysteemkunde / Agrosystems Research
Human activities have changed the composition of the atmosphere resulting in rising global temperatures and sea levels. Agriculture contributes significantly to climate change through the emission of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Continuation of the trends of greenhouse gas emissions will result in a further increase of global warming in the coming decades. The most recent projections indicate a global warming of 1.1-6.4°C by the year 2100, but in North Western Europe warming is expected to be even higher. This will result in a sea-level rise of up to 0.8 m by the year 2100. Field vegetable production systems contribute to climate change through emission of the greenhouse gases CO2 and N2O. Since field vegetables like all other plants fix atmospheric CO2, the net emission of CO2 from vegetable production systems will be insignificant, especially when high-yielding varieties are used, crop residues are not removed from the field, inorganic fertilizers are replaced by organic manures and reduced tillage is applied. N2O emission can be reduced by increasing the efficiency of N use by the vegetables. Field vegetable production systems will have to adapt to changing weather conditions, such as dryer summers and wetter winters. This implies that crops or varieties have to be used that are more stress tolerant to drought and salinity.