WIT Press

Agriculture And Climate Change: Implications For Environmental Sustainability Indicators


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






Page Range

99 - 110




324 kb


E. Wheaton & S. Kulshreshtha


Agricultural activities have many effects on the environment, including effects on soil and air quality, water quality and quantity, contamination, and wildlife habitat. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has calculated a set of science-based agri-environmental indicators (AEIs) to provide information on environmental conditions in agriculture and their trends. The indicators are based on models developed from scientific understanding of the interactions between agriculture and the environment and are calculated using mathematical models to integrate information on soils, climate, and landscape with agricultural activity or practice information from the Canadian Census of Agriculture. Several AEIs were selected to explore the effects of climate change on agri-environmental sustainability. Based on the analysis in this study, those indicators that would likely decrease in their performance in the future include: risks of soil erosion from wind and water, soil salinization, water quality, nitrogen contamination, phosphorous contamination, pesticide contamination, and particulate matter emission rate. The one indicator found to likely improve with climate change was the greenhouse gas budget. In addition, the impacts of climate change were difficult to assess for several indicators as their values are more affected by both agricultural and non-agricultural factors, as well as lack of knowledge. AEIs are important tools to measure climate impacts and to indicate the success of adaptation to those impacts. This research is only emerging, however, and many knowledge gaps exist. Keywords: indicators, environment, climate, agriculture, Canada.


Keywords: indicators, environment, climate, agriculture, Canada.