About 75% of Dorset's land is used for agriculture. Variations occur every year in harvest. This is due to variations in weather during the growing season. Relatively small changes can make the difference between a large harvest and disaster. Farming practices have to evolve to cope with climate change. A warmer and wetter environment brought on by climate change will cause a change in planting and harvesting dates and also cause a change in the variety of crops planted. Hopefully the increased atmospheric CO2 levels will stimulate photosynthesis and in turn increase crop yields. However animal and crop pests and diseases are likely to change and warmer and wetter summers my cause greater fungal and insect attack. In Dorset almost 11% of the land is woodland, an increase of 1.3% from the 1990’s. Warmer temperatures could increase pests and diseases while increased rainfall will cause more soil erosion. With employment levels in the Dorset agricultural sector deceasing and with Dorset’s forested areas increasing this sector has an opportunity to contribute significantly towards renewable energy. The Dorset AONB management plan cites the production of bio-fuels as a key opportunity for its trees while in the section covering agriculture it states that renewable energy and bio-fuel production may offer a boost to the industry. These ideas would benefit the community as well as the local landowners.

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