Characterization of the carbon assimilation of carob plantations in semi-arid conditions

A. Pérez-Pastor, J.P. Soares-Neto, J.M. de la Rosa, J. Tous, D.J. Iglesias
Carob plantations are main components of the Mediterranean landscapes, mainly located in marginal and prevailing calcareous soils. The southern countries of the European Union are largely the leading carob producer worldwide. Only Spain produces, on average, 80,000 t year‑1 followed by Italy, Morocco, Portugal, and Greece. In some of them, this crop is very relevant from both agronomical and environmental perspectives. In addition, certain properties of carob leaves, seeds and pulp fruit (they are rich in phenols and polyphenols) make them a good source of antioxidants. Finally, the fruits are used for wide purposes particularly in food industry and as a source of many products such as gum, sugar, fiber, minerals and alcohol. In this study we demonstrate that carob trees are very efficient species to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The presented results indicate that traditional carob plantations exhibit a positive net carbon balance, close to 5.4 t C equivalent ha‑1 year‑1 that, extrapolated to the whole Spanish crop surface (about 50,000 ha), represents a total of 250,000 t C year‑1. This carbon assimilation activity is similar, or even higher, to other woody crops and suggests that it can be considerably enhanced through the optimization of the cultural techniques and irrigation regimes.
Pérez-Pastor, A., Soares-Neto, J.P., de la Rosa, J.M., Tous, J. and Iglesias, D.J. (2020). Characterization of the carbon assimilation of carob plantations in semi-arid conditions. Acta Hortic. 1280, 241-246
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1280.33
carob tree, climate change, fruit trees, Mediterranean crops, mitigation

Acta Horticulturae