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Implementation cases

Partners from Lithuania in this project are analysing implementation cases in agriculture and forestry. These sectors were chosen because of rural aspects of our Target area Panevezys region. These implementation cases would provide beneficial support for local actors to assess climate-related challenges and chances and adapt all necessary activities for implementation.

Agriculture

Agriculture sector is significantly sensitive to the most climatic stressors. Each of them affects productivity and results of agriculture sector. The most influential climatic stressors in Panevėžys region are droughts, frosts (particularly in winter time when there is no snow on the land in analysed territory) and increased averaged temperature.

Due to extreme meteorological phenomena farmers can experience income losses and to avoid them the following changes take place:

A better choice of technological measures in crop production;

Diversification of farmers’ incomes by introducing energy crops and plants from southern countries.

Forestry

Warm and snowless winters in Panevėžys region lead to heavier conditions for forest management and harvesting in winter. The temperature increase leads to greater possibility of forest fires and improved conditions for the spread of tree vermin, therefore it can be said that climate change brings to this industry greater factor of uncertainty.

But despite the threats climate change provides a number of opportunities. Temperature increase gives improving survival conditions for useful and perspective tree species due to warm and snowless winters.  Warmer winters will also have a positive impact on the forest soil by increasing the mineralization of nutrients in the soil and refreshing ground waters.

Climate-related challenges and chances for Panevezys region in agriculture and forestry

Impact of climate-related challenges and chances in agriculture and forestry in Panevezys region in period 2009-2100 can be summarised as follow:

1. The increasing average winter temperature will lead to certain threats for forests. Warmer winters will improve conditions for the spread of tree vermin. Favourable feeding conditions for cervine game will influence the increase of their population and the damage caused by them. Absence of upper soil frost will increase the elution of nutrients and dissolution in the soil. Conditions of forest procurement works will get heavier; therefore it will become relevant to acquire new machinery for forest procurement works. Frost waves are typical of Lithuania even at higher average temperatures, subsequently, the likelihood of winterkill upon frost waves will increase, leading to damage for gardens, orchards and other crops, and higher risk of income loss for farmers. The issue of hail will become more and more relevant for Lithuania at rising temperatures. Such atmospheric phenomena will damage the yield causing losses for farmers.

2. Higher summer temperatures will deteriorate conditions for the development of livestock breeding because of the likelihood for originating of new diseases and worse animal keeping conditions resulting from overheat, the threat of sun and thermal stroke, and worse microclimate in the stalls. The changing animal keeping conditions may require new animal feeding technologies. Also threat of unpleasant smell spread at far distances from livestock breeding objects will increase leading to disapproval by inhabitants to the neighbourhood of such objects.

3. The increasing average temperature and longer vegetation period will lead to creating new possibilities and encourage for certain positive changes. Warm winters will facilitate to increase the resources of the hunting fauna, and to improve conditions for the survival of useful and perspective tree species, as well as wintering possibilities for helpful insects. Warm winters will have a positive impact on the forest soil by increasing the mineralization of nutrients in the soil and refreshing ground waters.

4. Longer vegetation period will increase the productivity of the most of crops opening possibilities for growing C4 photosynthesis type plants and alternative species, and introduce very productive species and breeds from Southern countries in horticulture and gardening. The warming climate will provide farmers with more options in choosing technologies for crop cultivation.

5. Many new opportunities will open for the livestock breeding sector. Longer period of animal keeping outside will facilitate in addressing the issue of accumulating organic fertilizer. It will be easier to introduce much cheaper animal keeping technologies in Lithuania, such as keeping animals outside, ‘cold’, semi-open type stalls; use of stockyards, etc. Longer vegetation period will lead to a longer grazing period, and will allow preparing more forage by using also a better variety of cultures. Impact on the structure of animal species raised in Lithuania is also presumable - new animal breeds could be bred, and the number of petty animals will increase. Subsequently, preconditions will be created for introducing new production and additional business opportunities.

6. Warming climate will facilitate the application of new and more efficient animal waste management technologies, such as faster manure fermentation processes and the production of biogas.

7. Considering changes in the amount of precipitation the biggest threats may arise because of the anticipated increase of precipitation in winter time and possible droughts in summer.

8. Heavy rainfalls accompanied by strong winds will cause windfalls, and heavy rainfalls will increase the threat of abiotic tree lesions, the likelihood of soil erosion, and possible submergence of certain forest and agricultural land areas.

9. Droughts during the vegetation period will cause the threat of harvest loss leading to the increased risk for farmers in organising agricultural activities and the provision with food products. Drought may also increase problems in water supply for livestock breeding. Dry vegetation period will have a negative impact on the forestry sector as well. Among the essential threats the increasing forest fire rate should be considered, including the reduction of forest increase, worse naturalization of young forests, less yield of supplementary forest products (mushrooms, berries, etc.). The peeled off tree bark because of drought may facilitate the increase of vermin.

10. The receding snow coverage will increase the risk of winterkill. It is particularly relevant for Lithuania, as the structure of crops includes a great part of winter crops. Threat of winterkill may also increase for gardens and orchards, as the current species shall be covered at low temperatures.

11. Though forecasting of changes in the wind speed indicates their insignificance, the warming climate, however, may cause more extreme atmospheric phenomena – the threat of strong winds and storms. Such phenomena will cause threats for forests resulting in windfalls and soil erosion.