Back to underutilized fruit crops in some East Mediterranean countries along the Silk Roads to cope with future challenges
Countries of the East Mediterranean Levant region historically situated along the ancient Silk Roads are experiencing the likely worst drought of the past nine centuries. Climate change is projected to accentuate the water deficit in this region, reduce the length of growing seasons causing considerable reductions in yield for several species including fruit trees and forcing large areas of marginal agriculture out of production. Underutilized crops have the potential to play a substantial role in the mitigation of these effects. Countries are appealed to diversify their crop production and to rely more on species that are tolerant to drought. In this paper we review the candidature of some fruit resources generally known for their tolerance to drought and which have been often underutilized in most national production systems, with a particular emphasis on almond, fig, pomegranate, carob and prickly pear. On the other hand this study sheds light on the main promising features of these underutilized fruit crops paving the road towards their revival and integration in the diversification of Mediterranean farmers' crop to cope with climate change.
Chalak, L., Baydoun, S. and Tous, J. (2021). Back to underutilized fruit crops in some East Mediterranean countries along the Silk Roads to cope with future challenges. Acta Hortic. 1308, 121-132
Levant, climatic change, drought tolerance, underutilized fruit species, economic status, uses