Accept my apologies for weak formulation of my question. I do not have any background in environmental sciences, but since recently a lot of coverage in the media has been devoted to future droughts in Iran and their socio-economical effects, I got curious enough to investigate the depth of the matter. My main question is that when a drought in a region plagues an agriculture-based economy, what are the options for a fast and flexible transition in the economy of that region? By transition, I mainly mean providing a new source of income for the individuals, such that the drought does not translate to unemployment and/or relocation of people.

I assume that this has been studied, and maybe best practices already exist. However, since I'm not even remotely familiar with environment science, I don't even know which keywords I should search for.

Is there a dedicated field of research investigating this question? Is there a definitive book on this topic? It looks like a question on which a UN-related organization has already published some reports. If I want to find these hypothetical reports, what should I exactly search for?


There isn't a lot written on this yet. A search of FAO, UNESCO, World Bank and Asia Development Bank should turn up answers for specific regions. Keep in mind that climatic modelling is generally quite accurate for temperature, but woefully inaccurate in terms of regional water resources assessment. One should rely as much upon instrumental evidence-based historic trends as upon global climatic models and their down-scaled derivatives. In terms of temperature the important issue is to develop higher temperature tolerant crop cultivars, and maybe totally new crops. For example, fruit orchards that require so many days of frost will not do well under global warming, but new genetically engineered crops might do spectacularly better. The main issue is increased crop-water demand combined with diminishing irrigation water availability. In this, improving the irrigation efficiency is crucial, and requires massive reforms in almost every country. Apart from rising sea level, efficient irrigation combined with an upgrade to modern farming practices is by far the most important climate change adaptation.

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