Sustainable Development Seminar: Sonali McDermid (NYU)


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Sustainable Development Seminar: Sonali McDermid (NYU)

March 21, 2022
4:10 PM - 5:40 PM
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1510 IAB

SpeakerSonali McDermid 

Title: More crops, less drops? Agriculture and climate interactions via soils

Abstract: There is an increasing focus on reducing agricultural GHG emissions, while also facilitating cropping systems’ adaptation to climate change. Much of this combined agriculture mitigation and adaptation work centers on managed soils’ carbon and nutrient processes, and interactions with water. I will present two on-going projects evaluating agricultural soil-water-crop interactions and discuss implications for climate mitigation and/or adaptation. I will first describe new, on-going work using an integrated climate-crop modeling framework to evaluate if and how alternative management, particularly of water, can minimize trade-offs between mitigation (e.g. GHG emissions) and adaptation (e.g. yield, water) in rice systems at sites across South and Southeast Asia. Preliminary results suggest that while specific combinations of management options, including conservation water and soil management, can provide mitigation and adaptation benefits, several trade-offs may exist between yield, GHG reductions, water use efficiency and other key biophysical dimensions. Furthermore, some socio-economic dimensions, e.g. on-farm labor availability, are still largely under-explored but may serve as important constraints on the adoption and scaling of alternative management. I will then zoom out to the global scale to briefly overview recent work quantifying how large-scale soil degradation on managed lands may impact climate adaptation in major agricultural areas via changes in soil water holding capacity. In doing so, I will highlight why new approaches to soil and water management are critical to agricultural mitigation and adaptation goals, and consider major research needs, uncertainties, and ways forward to address them from a modeling perspective.