Climate change: impact, and mitigation strategies for tropical and subtropical fruits

S.K. Mitra
Global warming and climate change is the greatest concern of mankind in the 21st century. Climate change is projected to cause an increase in temperature, variations in rainfall, and an increase in frequency of extreme events such as heat, cold waves, frost days, droughts, floods, etc. Various plant processes like vegetative growth, flowering, fruiting and fruit quality are highly vulnerable to climate changes. Two major parameters of climate changes that have far reaching implications on plants are more erratic rainfall patterns and unpredictable high temperature spells which are consequently expected to reduce crop productivity. Drought reduced fruit set and increased fruit cracking in pomegranate and litchi. An increase in atmospheric temperature and change of rainfall pattern affected the banana cultivation in some countries. In various fruit crops, moisture stress and high temperature during flowering strongly influences the pollen and ovule quality and consequently the fruit set and yield. The promotion of stigma and stamen sterility in papaya is mainly because of the higher temperature, which caused flower drops as well as sex changes in female and hermaphrodite flowers. Flower drop is quite common in mango, guava, litchi and other fruits, if low temperature prevails during flowering. Studies have clearly shown that the population abundance, geographic range and pollination activities of important pollinator species like bees, moths, and butterflies are declining considerably with changing climate. Higher temperature during fruit growth and development increased the incidence of several physiological disorders like spongy tissue and black tip in mango, cracking of fruits, granulation in citrus, etc. Pest ecology of certain crops is changing due to climate change. Fruit fly in guava, carambola, citrus, etc. is becoming alarming due to hot and humid conditions. Warm and humid conditions are also favorable for pests like beetles, bugs and other sucking pests and diseases like mildew, blight, etc. Development of new varieties with higher yield potential and resistance to multiple stresses (drought, flood, salinity) should be the key to maintain yield. Improvement in germplasm of important tropical and subtropical fruit crops for heat stress tolerance should be one of the targets of breeding programs. Location specific soil and water conservation models, protocol for organic farming, conservation horticulture, development of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance rootstocks, etc., are some of the strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change. This paper briefly discussed the impact and mitigation strategies of climate change on tropical and subtropical fruits.
Mitra, S.K. (2018). Climate change: impact, and mitigation strategies for tropical and subtropical fruits. Acta Hortic. 1216, 1-12
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1216.1
climate change, impact, temperature, mitigation

Acta Horticulturae