Geospatial Methodology Towards Planning Adaptation/Mitigation Measures of Climate Change Impact on the Apple Orchards in India
Apple is the predominant horticulture crop of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir states in India. Efforts are in progress to further strengthen this crop by bringing more areas under cultivation and improving the condition of the existing orchards. However, future changes in the climatic parameters projected under the global climate change scenario will have significant impact on the apple orchard viability. This is mainly due to its sensitivity to availability of chilling units. Temperate fruits like apple have a specific chilling unit requirement for fruit set and quality of fruit. In the Indian context, the chilling requirement is related to the elevation range of the orchards. This study analyses the current distribution pattern of the apple orchards in relation to elevation ranges and simulates the change under the climate change scenario. Remote sensing data of IRS-P6 LISS-III and AWiFS sensor was used to map the orchards. Digital elevation model (DEM) was used to generate the elevation, slope and aspect in spatial domain. Ancillary data district/state boundary, weather data, soil and drainage were integrated using geospatial technique. Terrain analysis showed that the orchards in Jammu and Kashmir were distributed in the elevation range of 1,600–2,100 m. The equal proportion of orchards was observed in the elevation range of 1,600 − 1,800 m as well as 1,800–2,000 m. In case of Himachal Pradesh (Shimla, Kullu, Mandi), the orchards are distributed from 1,600 to 3,000 m.
To predict the suitable elevation of apple growth under the climate change scenario, a modelling method known as GARP (Genetic Algorithm for Rule-Set Production) was used. It is a genetic algorithm that creates ecological niche models for species distribution from presence-only occurrence data. The model gives final solution as environmental conditions under which the species should be able to maintain populations. The simulation showed significant upward shift of the existing belt to higher elevation. The paper describes the results in detail. The use of geospatial technique and simulation model enhances the scope for preparing a road map to plan mitigation measures to combat climate change impact on the vast tracts of apple and stone fruit belt in India.
KeywordsGeoinformatics Apple orchard Remote sensing GIS Climate change
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