Yesterday the Landscapes Blog explored how cocoa production in Ghana is shifting toward a more sustainable system. Expanding to other tropical tree crops, today marks the launch of a new book – Tropical Tree Fruit Species and Climate Change. Trees are an important component in integrated agricultural landscapes, contributing to wildlife habitat, shade provision, soil fertility, wind and erosion protection, and even food production. Integration of trees into agricultural lands is also a traditional mechanism to diversify and reduce risks. This new publication examines the current state of understanding regarding climate change and tropical fruit, as well as looking towards the future ability of those crops to cope or adapt to altered climatic conditions.
Globally, over 90% of fresh fruits are consumed locally, an indication of the significance of not only local food security and culture, but also the level of international import-exports is on the rise. Moreover, fruit trees tend to be more resilient to climate change, because of their perennial nature. Still, how tropical fruits are impacted by climate change is expected to vary widely, influencing yield, coloration, texture, and flavor. The chapters of the book delve into the details of these implications, and examine the significance of conserving genetic resources both ex-situ and in the field, which preserves the diversity necessary to temper the impacts climatic shifts.
The concluding chapter calls for further research into climate change and tropical fruit trees. Climate modeling and geographic information system analysis can help match varieties to new opportunities for cultivation based on climatic conditions. Fruit trees can be considered an integral component of a climate-smart landscape, conferring resilience and mitigating some of the impacts of climate change. Read the full publication for more details.