Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 115, Issue 1–2, pp 207–218 | Cite as

Olive tree phenology and climate variations in the Mediterranean area over the last two decades

  • Fabio OrlandiEmail author
  • H. Garcia-Mozo
  • A. Ben Dhiab
  • C. Galán
  • M. Msallem
  • M. Fornaciari
Original Paper


The flowering characteristics of plant species of economic interest and the influence of climate on them are of great importance considering the implications for fruit setting and the final harvest: Olive is one of the typical species of the Mediterranean habitat. We have investigated the timing of olive full flowering during the anthesis period and flowering intensity over a period of 20 years (1990–2009), in three major cultivation areas of the Mediterranean basin: Italy, Spain and Tunisia. The importance of these characteristics from a bioclimatic point of view is considered. The biological behaviour was studied to determine its main relationships with temperature and water availability, considering also the different sub-periods and the bio-climatic variations during the study period. The flowering dates and pollen emissions show different behaviours for the Spanish monitoring area in comparison with the other two olive cultivation areas. In the Italian and Tunisian areas, the flowering period over the last decade has become earlier by about 5 and 7 days, respectively, in comparison to the previous decade. Moreover, pollen emissions have decreased in Perugia (Italy) and Zarzis (Tunisia) over the period of 2000–2009, while in Cordoba (Spain), they showed their highest values from 2005 to 2009. The climate analysis has shown an increase in temperature, which results in an increase in the growing degree days for the growth of the olive flower structures, particularly in the more northern areas monitored. Although the olive tree is a parsimonious water consumer that is well adapted to xeric conditions, the increase in the potential evapotranspiration index over the last decade in the Italian and Tunisian olive areas might create problems for olive groves without irrigation, with a negative influence on the flowering intensity. Overall, in all of these Mediterranean monitoring areas, the summer water deficit is an increasingly more important parameter in comparison to the winter parameters, which confirms that the winter period is not as limiting as the summer period for olive tree cultivation in these Mediterranean areas.


Olive Tree Olive Grove Monitoring Area Pollen Emission Daily Pollen Concentration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to the European Social Fund for co-financing with the Spanish Science Ministry the project FENOCLIM CGL2011-24146 and Dr. García Mozo grant supported by a ‘Ramón y Cajal’ contract. Also, the authors thank the Spanish Cooperation Agency (AECID), who financed projects A/018023/08, A 02509/09 and CAP 11-CAP2-0932.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Orlandi
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. Garcia-Mozo
    • 2
  • A. Ben Dhiab
    • 3
  • C. Galán
    • 2
  • M. Msallem
    • 3
  • M. Fornaciari
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied BiologyUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Botany, Ecology and Plant PhysiologyUniversity of CordobaCordobaSpain
  3. 3.Institut de l’OlivierTunisTunisia

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