Keynote Lectures

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Climate is projected to have negative impact on temperate grassland and livestock productions across the globe. Moderately elevated atmospheric CO2 in the near future is expected to increase plant photosynthetic rates but this is likely to be limited by soil nitrogen deficits. However, in Australia at least it is unlikely that positive effect of elevated CO2 on plant production be able to offset the negative impacts of climate change. Currently there is a considerable gap between actual and achievable production and profit in Australian grazing systems and many management and genetic improvements for climate adaptation would operate by filling this gap. Because of likely substantial declines in efficiency frontier of grazing systems under changing climate compared to the historical climate, filling the production gap will be a more challenging task in coming decades. Research into climate change impact and adaptation in managed grasslands has been mostly limited to Europe, North America and Australasia. Large areas of managed grasslands exist in South America, China, Africa and south-west Asia for which there is little understanding of the likely impact of climate change impact and effectiveness of potential adaptation options. These grasslands are typically managed at lower intensity than European or North American systems and often form part of crop-livestock farming systems. There is a clear need for research into the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on these grasslands and on the livestock and people they support.

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Climate Change Impact and Adaptation in Temperate Grassland and Livestock Industries

Climate is projected to have negative impact on temperate grassland and livestock productions across the globe. Moderately elevated atmospheric CO2 in the near future is expected to increase plant photosynthetic rates but this is likely to be limited by soil nitrogen deficits. However, in Australia at least it is unlikely that positive effect of elevated CO2 on plant production be able to offset the negative impacts of climate change. Currently there is a considerable gap between actual and achievable production and profit in Australian grazing systems and many management and genetic improvements for climate adaptation would operate by filling this gap. Because of likely substantial declines in efficiency frontier of grazing systems under changing climate compared to the historical climate, filling the production gap will be a more challenging task in coming decades. Research into climate change impact and adaptation in managed grasslands has been mostly limited to Europe, North America and Australasia. Large areas of managed grasslands exist in South America, China, Africa and south-west Asia for which there is little understanding of the likely impact of climate change impact and effectiveness of potential adaptation options. These grasslands are typically managed at lower intensity than European or North American systems and often form part of crop-livestock farming systems. There is a clear need for research into the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on these grasslands and on the livestock and people they support.