Climate change will dramatically devalue farmland in southern Europe, EU agency reveals

(EurActiv, 4 Sep 2019) Climate change could turn the entire EU agribusiness upside down, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA), as crop productivity in the Mediterranean countries is expected to drop while northern and western regions may experience longer growing seasons and more suitable conditions for agriculture intensification.

In a new report published on Wednesday (4 September), the EU environmental agency highlights an alarming “cascade of impacts from climate change on agro-ecosystems and crop production” that may in future affect price, quantity and quality of products in Europe.

Extreme weather and climate events such as droughts and frosts are expected to reverse trade patterns and agriculture income distribution in Europe, permanently reshaping crop production as we know it.

Italy, Greece, Portugal, the south of France and Spain could face a reduction in the relative profitability of agriculture, which could ultimately result in the loss of agricultural land and farmers abandoning the activity, the report says.

Farmland value in southern regions of Europe is projected to decrease by 60% to 80% by 2100, with two-thirds of this value drop concentrated in Italy, where the aggregate loss could range from €58 billion to €120 billion by 2100, roughly a 34-60% decrease compared to the baseline period 1961-1990.

In particular, drought frequency will increase, especially in the Mediterranean during spring and summer. In those areas, higher temperatures could also affect the livestock sector in terms of worsening animal health and reducing livestock production.

While some southern regions may become less suitable for crop production and livestock because of drier summer conditions, the upside is that land values could increase by 8% in western Europe and by an even higher percentage in the Nordic and Baltic countries.

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EurActiv, 4 Sep 2019: Climate change will dramatically devalue farmland in southern Europe, EU agency reveals