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There is general consensus in the scientific literature that human-induced climate change has taken place and will continue to do so over the next century. The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes with “very high confidence” that anthropogenic activities such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation have affected the global climate. The AR4 also indicates that global average temperatures are expected to increase by another 1.1°C to 5.4°C by 2100, depending on the increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases that takes place during this time. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, temperature increases, altered precipitation patterns and other factors influenced by climate have already begun to impact U.S. agriculture. Climate change will continue to have significant effects on U.S. agriculture, water resources, land resources, and biodiversity in the future as temperature extremes begin exceeding thresholds that harm crop growth more frequently and precipitation and runoff patterns continue to change. In this study, we provide an assessment of the potential long-term implications of climate change on landowner decisions regarding land use, crop mix, and production practices in the U.S., combining a crop process model (Environmental Policy Integrated Climate model) and an economic model of the U.S. forestry and agricultural sector (Forest and Agricultural Sector Optimization Model). Agricultural producers have always faced numerous production and price risks, but forecasts of more rapid changes in climatic conditions in the future have raised concerns that these risks will increase in the future relative to historical conditions.


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