Delineating geographic shifts in crop cultivation under future climate conditions provides information for land use and water management planning, and insights to meeting future demand. A suitability modeling approach was used to map the thermal niche of almond cultivation and phenological development across the Western United States (US) through the mid-21st century. The Central Valley of California remains thermally suitable for almond cultivation through the mid-21st century, and opportunities for expansion appear in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon, which is currently limited by insufficient heat accumulation. Modeled almond phenology shows a compression in reproductive development under future climate. By the mid-21st century, almond phenology in the Central Valley showed ~ 2-week delay in chill accumulation and ~ 1- and ~ 2.5-week advance in the timing of bloom and harvest, respectively. Although other climatic and non-climatic restrictions to almond cultivation may exist, these results highlight opportunities for shifts in the geography of high-value cropping systems, which may influence growers’ long-term land use decisions, and shape regional water and agricultural industry discussions regarding climate change adaptation options.
Climatic Change – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 5, 2017
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