Abstract for: A leverage points analysis of a qualitative system dynamics model for climate change adaptation in agriculture

In the area of Northeast Lower Saxony (NELS), projected climate change may cause a substantial net water deficit during summer when water for agriculture is highly demanded. To ensure the economic yield production under a changing climate, the irrigation demand in the region is expected to increase further. Responding to these challenges, we apply a qualitative system dynamics model of the agricultural sector in NELS that is based on a participatory modeling approach. We develop a novel approach to identify potential leverage points within the system that point to effective climate change adaptation measures. The approach is based on the analysis of feedback loops within the qualitative model and additionally by including informal knowledge originating from interviews. Furthermore, we assess the potential influence of stakeholders to modify and adapt the system according to these leverage points on different time scales. We propose to rely on three major pathways: 1) implement measures to increase water retention in the region, 2) use water more efficiently and 3) decrease the water demand. Decision makers are in demand to give financial incentives supporting the implementation of these measures. Farmers are requested to use water efficient irrigation techniques and by adapting crop cultivation.