Climate change may open frontier for farming, research suggests
Newly published research from an international study says climate change could open a whole new area in Canada to farming.
But co-author Evan Fraser of the University of Guelph warns that simply turning northern forests into waving wheat fields would sow disaster.
Fraser and his colleagues looked at temperature and precipitation forecasts for large swaths of the globe that are too cold to plow.
They found that Russia and Canada are likely to see the biggest growth in farmable land — more than four million square kilometres in Canada alone, dwarfing what's currently under cultivation. Fraser warns that those soils hold vast amounts of carbon that, if released, would blow right through Canada's Paris commitments.
He adds the impact on biodiversity and water hasn't been studied.
He also points out that the land is home to thousands of Indigenous people.
He says climate change may bring an opportunity for Arctic farmers, but it has to be done carefully with full regard for environmental consequences.