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Climate impacts on palm oil yields in the Nigerian Niger Delta

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Okoro, S. U., Schickhoff, U., Boehner, J., Schneider, U., & Huth, N. (2017). Climate impacts on palm oil yields in the Nigerian Niger Delta. European Journal of Agronomy, 85(Supplement C), 38-50. doi:

Abstract Palm oil production has increased in recent decades and is estimated to increase further globally. The optimal role of palm oil production, however, is controversial because of conflicts with other important land uses and ecosystem services. Local conditions and climate change affect resource competition and the desirability of palm oil production in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. The objectives of this study are to (1) establish a better understanding of the existing yield potentials of oil palm areas that could be used for integrated assessment models, (2) quantify for the first time uncertainties in yield potentials arising from the use of climate output data from different Global Circulation Models (GCM’s) with varied West African Monsoon (WAM) system representations forced to the same Regional Climate Models (RCM’s). We use the biophysical simulation model APSIM (Agricultural Production Systems Simulator) to simulate spatially variable impacts of climate change on oil palm yield over the Nigerian Niger Delta. Our results show that the impact of climate change on oil palm yield is considerable across our study region. The yield differences between the IPCC RCPs were small. The net impact of climate change on oil palm is positive and is dynamically inconsistent. There is no significant change in the simulated yield arising from the differences in the forcing’s data. We found the most effective strategy for oil palm yield optimization under climate change to be shifting of sowing dates and introduction of irrigation.