| ||The Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries (CCRSPI) is a collaborative response to the opportunities and challenges posed by climate change for Australian agriculture, fisheries and forestry. It is a joint initiative of the rural research and development corporations; the state and territory governments; the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; and the CSIRO.
The inaugural CCRSPI Conference (February 2011) was a unique event: the country’s only dedicated primary industries and climate change conference, bringing together scientists, policy makers, industry representatives and producers. It provided an invaluable opportunity to exchange knowledge, ideas and innovations, and develop a shared vision for how primary industries can tackle the challenge of a changing climate.
The conference, and in particular the Synthesis Papers presented here in a Special Issue of Crop & Pasture Science, highlight three points that decision makers at all levels need to consider:
- Our knowledge of potential climate change impacts, and options for both adaptation and mitigation, is small compared to what is needed. Additional investment in research and support for innovation is critical.
- Our landscapes and rural communities are under stress. They are often portrayed as being part of battle between environment and production, or the people neglected in favour urban votes.
- The risk of unforseen or perverse outcomes is high. The need for 'reductionist' research remains as important as ever; however, the need for systems research is vital to understand the complexities of the biophysical, social and financial implications of climate change and related policies.
A major research effort in climate change and primary industries is underway, and is documented in these Synthesis Papers. Australian researchers have an opportunity to lead the world in climate-smart primary production systems, while Australian primary producers and decision-makers have an opportunity to feed the world in a changing climate. It is up to us all to take up the opportunities on offer by supporting a smart and efficient national research effort. We hope this collection of papers will inform and inspire.
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