Climate Change Impacts on the Future Distribution of Date Palms: A Modeling Exercise Using CLIMEXReport as inadecuate

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Climate is changing and, as a consequence, some areas that are climatically suitable for date palm Phoenix dactylifera L. cultivation at the present time will become unsuitable in the future. In contrast, some areas that are unsuitable under the current climate will become suitable in the future. Consequently, countries that are dependent on date fruit export will experience economic decline, while other countries’ economies could improve. Knowledge of the likely potential distribution of this economically important crop under current and future climate scenarios will be useful in planning better strategies to manage such issues. This study used CLIMEX to estimate potential date palm distribution under current and future climate models by using one emission scenario A2 with two different global climate models GCMs, CSIRO-Mk3.0 CS and MIROC-H MR. The results indicate that in North Africa, many areas with a suitable climate for this species are projected to become climatically unsuitable by 2100. In North and South America, locations such as south-eastern Bolivia and northern Venezuela will become climatically more suitable. By 2070, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and western Iran are projected to have a reduction in climate suitability. The results indicate that cold and dry stresses will play an important role in date palm distribution in the future. These results can inform strategic planning by government and agricultural organizations by identifying new areas in which to cultivate this economically important crop in the future and those areas that will need greater attention due to becoming marginal regions for continued date palm cultivation.

Author: Farzin Shabani , Lalit Kumar, Subhashni Taylor



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