In China’s northernmost province of Heilongjiang, rice production has been expanding rapidly, and the harvested area is now larger that of Japan. Whereas some studies have attributed the rapid growth of rice production in this province to the climatic warming, it could also be accounted for by the diffusion of a nursery technology from Japan to alleviate constraints from the cool climate. We analyzed the effects of the warming trend and the new technology on rice yield by using a combination of models to estimate the best attainable yield and the yield loss due to the low temperature damages. We found that the new technology has largely contributed to the recent increase and stabilization of the rice yield, whereas the rising temperature has increased the rice yield only slightly. We further analyzed sensitivity of the rice production to future increase in temperature, and concluded that the farmers’ choice of varieties in adaptation to the warmer climate will substantially increase the rice production in this province. We have however identified that the water resources could become a major constraint on the rice production under the warmer climate.
China, rice, climatic change, adaptation, technology