EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Potentials and limitations of climate change adaptation with crop calendar optimization in rice-based multiple cropping systems

Xiaobo Wang1,2, Christian Folberth3, Shaoqiang Wang1,2, Rastislav Skalsky3, and Balkovic Juraj3
Xiaobo Wang et al.
  • 1IGSNRR, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China (
  • 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 3Ecosystem Services and Management Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria (

Climate change poses increasing risks to global food security with more severe heat stress, water scarcity, and flooding. As one of the major adaptation measures, adjusting crop calendars could be a feasible and effective solution to avoid adverse effects on crop yield potentials in a changing climate by allowing crops to grow in more favorable weather conditions. Previous single-crop and single-objective studies on the optimization of crop planting dates lack comprehensive consideration of multi-crop rotation systems, especially rice-based cropping systems with short growing season intervals in Asian tropical monsoon regions. This study seeks to better understand potentials and limitations of adjusting crop calendars for climate change adaptation of double-rice and rice-wheat rotation systems, with a particular focus on the following questions: (1) Is it possible to avoid yield loss of rice and wheat through adjusting crop calendars in the study area? (2) How will fallow period between crop growing seasons change in the future? (3) What are relationships between crop yield improvement, irrigation water requirement, and heat stress mitigation in the study area?

To address these questions, we calibrated a spatial implementation of the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) agronomic model to estimate annual potential yields, irrigation water requirement, and heat stress days of irrigated double-rice and rice-wheat cropping systems in Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar (the BIM countries), and adjusted crop calendars (a) by single-objective optimization with maximum yield and (b) multi-objective optimization with least irrigation water requirement, minimum heat stress days, and highest potential yield under climate change.

Our results indicate that most yield loss in rice and wheat could be avoided through shifting planting dates while considering effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration on biomass assimilation and transpiration. The model indicates that fallow periods between kharif-rice harvest dates and rabi-rice planting dates in double-rice systems are likely to become longer due to shorter growing season duration meanwhile fallow periods between kharif-rice harvest dates and rabi-wheat planting dates in rice-wheat systems are likely to become shorter due to advanced planting dates of rabi wheat, which implies that double-rice systems in the BIM countries will have more flexibility to cope with smaller time windows for crop growth and development in the future. Moreover, nearly half of the study area has the potential to increase yield by more than 10% through changing crop calendars compared to the basic scenario with non-adjusted crop calendars under RCP8.5 in 2080s, but 59% of these areas would face contradictions in obtaining crop yield improvement, saving irrigation water, and mitigating heat stress in the future. We found those areas suitable for adopting shifting planting dates as one of adaptation strategies from the perspective of climate conditions, such as Punjab state in India and Rangpur in Bangladesh, are also the areas with shortened growing season intervals, which requires great efforts to achieve the adaptation objectives under climate change. Thus, the trade-off among climate change adaptation, ecological sustainability, and farmer decision making should be carefully considered for local governments when promoting adjustment of crop calendars in rice-based multiple cropping systems.

How to cite: Wang, X., Folberth, C., Wang, S., Skalsky, R., and Juraj, B.: Potentials and limitations of climate change adaptation with crop calendar optimization in rice-based multiple cropping systems, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2888,, 2021.

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