[NAFEX] California’s tree crops are screwed, says new report

mIEKAL aND qazingulaza at gmail.com
Fri Jul 24 08:48:40 EDT 2009

California’s tree crops are screwed, says new report
By Ethicurean @ 8:43 pm on 22 July 2009


Things heat up in the nation’s produce basket: Tree crops like apples,
cherries, pears, walnuts and almonds rely on a chilly winter to set
the stage for a productive spring and summer. But in a study released
today, UC Davis scientists report that climate change is chipping away
at the number of winter chill days available to tree crops in
California’s Central Valley, jeopardizing the future of orchards that
feed consumers around the country.

In 1950, says the report, half of the Central Valley was suitable for
growing tree crops. Today, only 4% of the valley gets enough chilly
days in winter to produce well in the summer and fall. By the end of
this century, they predict that virtually none of the valley’s land
area will be tree-fruit friendly.

The technological optimists are out in force on this one, of course,
hoping that new breeds of tree crops can be developed to require fewer
cold days. Others suggest increasing the use of, um, “rest-breaking
chemicals” that can compensate for a lack of cold days. (Don’t ask us
how.) But UC Davis researchers aren’t so hopeful. “The main walnut
breeder at UC Davis is retiring,” says one of the study’s authors.
“After that, funding will be short.”

Take-home message? “Climate change is not just about sea-level rise
and polar bears,” says the lead author of the study. “It is about our
food security. Climate change may make conditions less favorable to
grow the crops we need to feed ourselves.” (LA Times)

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