Food availability and disease have always been the greatest challenges to human survival. Agriculture revolutionized food production and permitted the development of civilization and our continuing geometric population growth. However, famine has led to wars, destabilized or ended many previous civilization and remains a threat to modern society as a result of climate change. Although the threat of a warming climate to food security has alarmed scientists and national security experts, much of the general public remains unaware or unconcerned.
Agricultural production has become highly mechanised, but is still subject to ecological processes. Adequate supplies of sunlight, carbon dioxide, water and nutrients are necessary for crop growth. Sunlight and carbon dioxide generally are adequate, and nutrients are typically supplemented as fertiliser. Water, however, is often limiting and could become more so as a result of rising temperatures, which force plants to use more water, and as a result of changes in precipitation patterns as global circulation patterns change.
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