Societal consequences due to agricultural impacts

For illustration, consider the potential societal consequence of climate change as mediated by impacts to agriculture, one potentially sensitive social institution of many. First, large (small) changes in climate create larger (smaller) risks to agricultural productivity because they require greater (lesser) resilience or adjustment. Second, it could prove easy (hard) to shift agricultural operations, to switch to new crop varieties, or to alter practices (e.g., irrigation and pest management) in response to climate changes, making agricultural production relatively immune (highly sensitive) to disruption as a result of changes in climate. Finally, the societal consequence of agricultural disruptions could be small (large) depending on the extent to which humanity can substitute for agricultural goods and services (e.g., via fishing, hunting, or manufacturing food). Thus, the societal consequence of climate change as mediated by agricultural impacts will depend on how climate changes, the sensitivity of agricultural systems to climate change, and human dependence on agriculture. Similarly, the three broad contributing factors identified above are relevant for physical systems such as snow pack (and related water resources) and for biological resources such as forests (and their related ecosystem services).