The Impact of Climate Change on Yield Potential of Maize across China

Document Type: Research Paper


1 State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information Systems, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.

2 The University of Adelaide Business School, Adelaide, Australia.


Maize is one of the major crops in China and its yield potential has been changed
significantly by climate change induction during last five decades. The national policy of maize
production sufficiency emphasizes the necessity for a more accurate estimation of yield
potential of maize at a national level. In this paper yield potential of maize was calculated using
the Global Agro-Ecological Zones (GAEZ) model and key meteorological factors impact on
yield potential across China was also analyzed. The results shows that, total yield potential of
maize increased by 0.15 million tons/year during the past five decades due to an increase in
cultivated area as a result of climate change impact. The partial correlation analysis between
main meteorological factors and yield potential of maize at a county level showed that 47% of
the counties of China were predominately influenced by changes in solar radiation while 16% of
counties were predominately affected by temperature changes. In addition, each agricultural
zone showed clear spatial difference in the distribution of key impact factors. These research
findings will not only provide scientific basis for making good use of meteorological resources
under climate change, but also play a vital role for the management of national maize
production for food security.