Apple and pear production is vulnerable to climate change. Research is underway to help understand its potential effects and to find ways to reduce any negative impacts.
Many reports (IPCC 5th assessment report, 2014; Stern, 2007; Garnaut, 2008; Deuter, 2009) show that agricultural industries in Australia and overseas are likely to be adversely affected by predicted changes in climate and that, without adaptation, production losses are likely. Identification of potential climate change impacts and the early implementation of adaptation strategies will reduce the vulnerability of industries to future climate variability (Deuter, 2009).
While considerable research, development, and extension have occurred within some Australian agricultural industries, few studies have been undertaken in the field of horticulture. A recent review found that there was little information on climate change impacts and adaptation options for pome fruit growers.
How will climate change impact Pome fruit like apples and pears?
Some impacts of climate change such as water shortages caused by changes in rainfall patterns and evaporation will be felt broadly across all agricultural industries. Other impacts will be crop and region specific. For apple and pear production systems these impacts include effects of higher temperatures on flowering, fruit yield, and fruit quality.
In 2016, Hort Innovation commissioned a project titled Understanding apple and pear production systems in a changing climate, designed to engage growers with research directly. The project was led by Dr Heidi Parkes from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland.