WSG-35806 Climate Smart Agriculture


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work4
Course coordinator(s)dr. RWA Hutjes
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. KKE Descheemaeker
dr. ir. A Kok
dr. ir. CE van Middelaar
I Supit
dr. P Reidsma
dr. RWA Hutjes
JV Nunes Vieira da Silva
prof. dr. NPR Anten
Examiner(s)dr. RWA Hutjes
prof. dr. NPR Anten

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

Thesis WSG-80436; CSA-80436


Agriculture contributes significantly to global warming through large scale greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time many agriculture systems are vulnerable to climate change and without adaptation global food production could significantly reduce affecting food security. In response to these challenges the concept of climate smart agriculture has been developed. Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) aims to address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change through an integrated approach. For example an better integration of land and water management is necessary to adapt to future climate change while at the same time reducing emissions. Climate smart agriculture combines three different objectives (1) sustainable increase of agricultural production (2) Adaptation of agricultural and food security systems to climate change; and (3) reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. To improve both climate change mitigation and adaptation of the agricultural sector these issues need to addressed at different spatial scales (from farm to landscape & local to global) and at time scales (from season to decades).
During the course the students will learn about the main principles of climate smart agriculture. The student will learn how agricultural systems including both plant and animal systems contribute to climate change through the emissions of CO2, N2O and CH4. The course will address the main processes causing these emissions and which mitigation measures can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, the course will address the main impacts of climate change on on agricultural systems and food security, how these impacts can be assessed and which adaptation measures can be used the reduce the vulnerability of agricultural systems and improve food security. The course will address how climate change affects water and land use management including issues such as future water availability and plant growth and which land and water use changes are needed to adapt to future climate. The key of climate smart agriculture is integrating adaptation and mitigation into existing farming systems and land and water use practices. Especially in developing countries ideally this would combined with higher agricultural production and improved food security. The course will address cases from both developed (intesive, high inputs, large scale, market-oriented) and the developing (extensive, minimal inputs, small scale, subsistence) world focusing on for example dryland systems in Africa, rice based farming systems in Asia and mixed farming systems in Europe.
During the course the students will develop a climate smart agricultural farming systems for their case. The student will assess the greenhouse gas emission and the climate change impacts using simple farming systems models. Based on these analyses the student will design different adaptation and mitigation measures which need to be integrated into a climate smart strategy for their case.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- apply the main principles of climate smart agriculture;
- analyse the impacts of climate variability and climate change on agricultural systems;
- describe the essential processes that are important in crop-climate interactions ;
- perform simple analyses on the CO2, CH4, & N2O emission potential of agricultural systems;
- develop and critically assess adaptation and mitigation measures related to agricultural systems;
- integrate adaptation and mitigation measures into a climate smart agricultural system.


- attending lectures;
- studying different scientific papers;
- actively participate in computer practicals and tutorials;
- group-work to develop a climate smart agricultural system for a specific farming context;

- students will write a group report and will present and discuss the results with the other students.


Written examination (50%) and group assignments (50%), both of which should be at least 5.5 to pass.


Book chapters and scientific papers to be made available in Brightspace.

Restricted Optional for: MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScC: Spec. C - Adaptive Water Management3WD
MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScD: Spec. D - Flexible Configurations for Innovative Minds3WD
MPSPlant SciencesMScC: Spec. C - Natural Resource Management3WD
MCLClimate StudiesMScC: Spec. C - Ecological and Agroecological Systems3WD
MCLClimate StudiesMScB: Spec. B - Biogeochemical Cycles3WD