Mediterranean Olive Orchards under Climate Change: A Review of Future Impacts and Adaptation Strategies

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The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) is an ancient traditional crop in the Mediterranean Basin. In the Mediterranean region, traditional olive orchards are distinguishable by their prevailing climatic conditions. Olive trees are indeed considered one of the most suitable and best-adapted species to the Mediterranean-type climate. However, new challenges are predicted to arise from climate change, threatening this traditional crop. The Mediterranean Basin is considered a climate change “hotspot,” as future projections hint at considerable warming and drying trends. Changes in olive tree suitability have already been reported over the last few decades. In this context, climate change may become particularly challenging for olive growers. The growing evidence for significant climate change in the upcoming decades urges adaptation measures to be taken. To effectively cope with the projected changes, both short and long-term adaptation strategies must be timely planned by the sector stakeholders and decision-makers to adapt for a warmer and dryer future. The current manuscript is devoted to illustrating the main impacts of climate change on olive tree cultivation in the Mediterranean Basin, by reviewing the most recent studies on this subject. Additionally, an analysis of possible adaptation strategies against the potentially negative impacts of climate change was also performed.
Mediterranean olive orchards , olive trees