, Volume 68, Issue 8, pp 1277-1290
Date: 05 Oct 2011

Walnut (Juglans spp.) ecophysiology in response to environmental stresses and potential acclimation to climate change

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Abstract

Context

Walnuts (Juglans spp.) are ecologically and commercially important trees, yet synthesis of past and current research findings on walnut ecophysiology is lacking, especially in terms of potential acclimation to climate change.

Aims

This study aims to (1) investigate walnut ecophysiology by comparing its attributes to associated deciduous angiosperms, (2) address potential acclimation of walnut to climate change, and (3) identify areas for prioritization in future research.

Results

There is considerable uncertainty regarding the magnitude of potential effects of climate change on walnut. Some studies tend to indicate walnut could be negatively impacted by climate change, while others do not. Walnut may be at a disadvantage due to its susceptibility to drought and frost injury in current growing regions given the projected increases in temperature and extreme climatic events. Other regions that are currently considered cold for walnut growth may see increased establishment and growth depending upon the rate of temperature increase and the frequency and severity of extreme climatic events.

Conclusion

Research investigating a combination of environmental factors, such as temperature, carbon dioxide, ozone, water, and nitrogen is needed to (1) better project climate change effects on walnut and (2) develop management strategies for walnut acclimation and adaptation to climate change.

Handling Editor: Erwin Dreyer