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WIREs Clim Change
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Implications of climate change for the sugarcane industry

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This review was undertaken to draw together research on how climate change impacts sugarcane production, and to assess the implications of climate change for the sugarcane industry, as well as possible response options. Much of the extant research examines how changes in climate lead to changes in primary production; however, few studies consider how climate change translates into industry‐wide impacts and economic consequences across the sugarcane value chain. Of the 90 studies we reviewed (published as journal articles, proceedings, and book chapters), 61 assess observed and/or projected impacts of climate change on sugarcane production. These studies reach largely different conclusions regarding how increases in air temperature or atmospheric carbon dioxide levels impact sugarcane production. These mixed results can be attributed to differences between the studies in terms of methods, time frames, and growing regions, which all limit cross‐study comparability. A total of 17 studies focus on the adaptation to observed and/or projected impacts of climate change, such as changed management procedures or farming practices, but there is limited evidence regarding successful adaptation outcomes. In addition, a separate stream of papers discusses mitigating energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the sugarcane production process, often with a view to reducing environmental impacts. Our review concludes by outlining the pathways for future research, highlighting that further insights are needed in particular regarding the economic consequences of climate change for the sugarcane industry.

Production quantities of sugarcane by country (average tons 1994–2014). Created with R package rworldmap based on data from FAOSTAT (http://www.fao.org/faostat).
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