Securing food under adverse climate and socioeconomic scenarios in Jiangsu Province, China: Critical role of human adaptation under change

Haoyang Lyu, Zengchuan Dong, Saket Pande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Food security is important for human well-being worldwide. However, changing climate, population growth and shrinking land resources are threatening food security in many regions of the world. Jiangsu Province, China, is one such region. It is a major food-producing region of the country but is witnessing rapid population growth and urbanization that is putting pressure on agricultural water and land resources and threatening food security of the region. This paper interprets the nexus between regional water availability and food security in Jiangsu Province under different climate change and socio-economic scenarios of population growth and land resource availability. Climate change scenarios are generated based on historical data and Global Climate Model (GCM) products. Socio-economic scenarios are generated based on population growth and crop planted area projections. The uptake of water and nutrients are considered as two dominant biophysical processes of crop growth and food production. Complementing it is human agency, including human labor, irrigation and land-preparation machinery, which are the factors behind water and nutrient use efficiencies of crops grown. Two dominant crops are considered, rice and wheat, that contribute to 61.4% of total crops produced in the province. Results show that adaptation by human agency is necessary to ensure that food supply meets at least the demand of the province under all climate change and socio-economic scenarios. Under relatively favorable scenarios, labor could replace land-preparing machinery since the level of food production can be easily maintained with abundant water and land availability. Mechanization in agricultural production significantly increases food production under unfavorable conditions, since it improves water and nutrient use efficiencies and leads to higher crop yields. This demonstrates that human agency plays an important role in securing food under stressful scenarios of drier climate, population growth, and contraction of agricultural lands.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126344
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Climate change
  • Food security
  • Scenario analysis
  • Trade-off between human labor and machinery in agriculture
  • Water and nutrient use efficiencies


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