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Suitable regions for date palm cultivation in Iran are predicted to increase substantially under future climate change scenarios

  • F. SHABANI (a1), L. KUMAR (a1) and S. TAYLOR (a1)

The objective of the present paper is to use CLIMEX software to project how climate change might impact the future distribution of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) in Iran. Although the outputs of this software are only based on the response of a species to climate, the CLIMEX results were refined in the present study using two non-climatic parameters: (a) the location of soils containing suitable physicochemical properties and (b) the spatial distribution of soil types having suitable soil taxonomy for dates, as unsuitable soil types impose problems in air permeability, hydraulic conductivity and root development. Here, two different Global climate models (GCMs), CSIRO-Mk3.0 (CS) and MIROC-H (MR), were employed with the A2 emission scenario to model the potential date palm distribution under current and future climates in Iran for the years 2030, 2050, 2070 and 2100. The results showed that only c. 0·30 of the area identified as suitable by CLIMEX will actually be suitable for date palm cultivation: the rest of the area comprises soil types that are not favourable for date palm cultivation. Moreover, the refined outputs indicate that the total area suitable for date palm cultivation will increase to 31·3 million ha by 2100, compared with 4·8 million ha for current date palm cultivation. The present results also indicate that only heat stress will have an impact on date palm distribution in Iran by 2100, with the areas currently impacted by cold stress diminishing by 2100.

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