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Climate change and fruit vegetation in Germany (KliO)

Completed Project

Project Management

Hans Kremers

Commissioned by

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
The vulnerability of economic sectors to climate change depends on both the expected regional climate change and the sectors' ability to adapt. In Germany, 80 % of the total area of land is used by the agriculture and forestry sectors and they belong to the most climate- sensitive branches. Climate change will have a significant impact on this sector. In comparison to crop production, where adaptation-strategies can be realised relatively fast through the implementation of a wide range of cultivars and species or by using short rotation periods in vegetation, the planting and rearrangement of orchards requires a consideration of the more long-term aspects of climate change impact. The adaptation of fruit plantation to climate change takes time and requires long-term investments. Returns are not realised before 3 to 6 years after the initial investments. Capital recovery can take as long as 25 years. Therefore, a detailed investigation on the impact of climate change on fruit growing is necessary.
Earlier research has shown that the first impact of climate change on certain fruit species can already be observed. For example, since the end of the 1980's the blossoming of fruit trees in Germany has advanced by several days. The general growing season in Europe and Germany has been extended by 10 days during the last decades. Because of the earlier blossoming of trees, in some regions of Europe the risk of late frost damages has increased. Likewise, the number of pest populations in orchards has risen, e.g. the occurrence of the codling moth.
The overall objective of this project is to investigate the possible regional impacts of climate change on fruit-growing in Germany. The main fruit growing regions in Germany are likely to be impacted differently by climate change and therefore these regions will be vulnerable to the impact of climate change in a varying degree. The KliO project intends to develop application-relevant strategies for adaptation and evaluate the impact of these adaptation measures on the sectors rentability and productivity. In this context, different levels of adaptation will be considered. This project should help to maintain the competitiveness and profitability of fruit growing in Germany. In this way, the project contributes to the sustainable development of this economic sector. This is seen as relevant for the impact of fruit growing on land-use, as well as a guarantee to keep employment and a stable income level in this economic sector.