Agricultural Adaptation and the Green Revolution

This graph shows corn yield in bushels per acre at fields near Urbana plotted against year. Each box plot shows the spread of the yield in a given year, with outliers labeled. Overplotted is a cubic line that is representative of the overall Urbana yield vs. year trend.

This graph shows corn yield in bushels per acre at fields near Urbana plotted against year. Each box plot shows the spread of the yield in a given year, with outliers labeled. Overplotted is a cubic line that is representative of the overall Urbana yield vs. year trend.

One of the most difficult aspects of evaluating the impacts of climate change on future agricultural production is compensating for change in technology over many decades.

An acceleration of technological research with regards to agriculture, commonly referred to as “The Green Revolution”, occurred worldwide from roughly 1940 to the late 1960’s. Practices in irrigation, management, and hybridization were changed drastically.

A dataset was compiled from the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS). It is a unique record of the evolution of technology and management practices during the Green Revolution, making it one of the very few lengthy, continuous, and consistent records of technological change in agriculture that exists in the entire world.

This historical record will be used to better understand the range of possible technology pathways for the next several decades and what they mean for food security in the face of a changing climate.

People

Joshua Elliott | Sydney Purdue | Alison Brizius | Anna Blinderman