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A Spatial Model of Agricultural Land Use with Climate Change for the Canadian Prairies Open Access


Other title
linear programming
land use
climate change
spatial model
Canadian Prairies
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Robertson, Susan
Supervisor and department
Unterschultz, Jim (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Vercammen, Jim (University of British Columbia)
Manaloor, Varghese (Augustana)
Jeffrey, Scott (Resource Economics and Enviromental Sociology)
Boxall, Peter (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology),
Krogman, Naomi (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
Agriculture and Resource Economics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Climate change is expected to drive major changes in agricultural production around the world, but estimates of the economic impact of these changes for Canadian agricultural production have been inconsistent. Most models use aggregate temperature data such as average temperature or growing degree days. This research shows that a novel approach that measures the marginal effect of exposure to specific temperatures in defined ranges improves yield forecasting. These novel temperature variables are incorporated into a production function to forecast yields for winter wheat, spring wheat, durum, barley, fall rye, oats, canola and flax. A spatial linear programming model in which gross margins are maximized is run for three scenarios: no climate change, a small increase in average temperature, and a large increase in average temperature. The model is calibrated to output from 2005 to 2010 and then run from 2011 to 2050. The model predicts that with a small increase in emissions, there will be a net increase in producer surplus to Canadian farmers, with wheat and canola dominating the landscape. This is similar to the current landscape; however, most crops migrate further north and west from their current range. As well, spring wheat acreage declines in favour of winter wheat, largely due to the higher yields for winter wheat. However, with a large increase in emissions, by 2050 the dominant crops in the landscape are barley and winter wheat, driven by changes in precipitation and temperature. The implications for Canadian agricultural production achieved by a spatially disaggregated model are a departure from the results of other modelling approaches and should be tested against a greater variety of behavioural assumptions and price conditions. Further study can help identify if crops other than those included here will become more prevalent. A major shift in the type of crops grown in the region would have implications for global food prices and food security.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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