Because most developing countries depend heavily on agriculture, the effects of global warming on productive croplands are likely to threaten both the welfare of the population and the economic development of the countries. Tropical regions in the developing world are particularly vulnerable to potential damage from environmental changes because the poor soils that cover large areas of these regions already have made much of the land unusable for agriculture. Although agronomic simulation models predict that higher temperatures will reduce grain yields as the cool wheat-growing areas get warmer, they have not examined the possibility that farmers will adapt by making production decisions that are in their own best interests. A recent set of models examines cross-sectional evidence from India and Brazil and finds that even though the agricultural sector is sensitive to climate, individual farmers do take local climates into account, and their ability to do so will help mitigate the impacts of global warming. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.
World Bank Research Observer is edited by Shantayanan Devarajan
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