Climate change: Response, adaptation strategies and mitigation potential of Coconut, Arecanut and Cocoa
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Coconut, arecanut and cocoa are the major plantation crops grown along the coast and hilly tracts of India, and are highly vulnerable to changing climatic factors. Most of these crops require an optimum temperature of 29+3°C for their growth and production. As per the climate change model projection, the temperature of the growing region is expected to increase by 1.6 to 2.1°C by 2050 and 2.1 to
3.2°C by 2070 for RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5, respectively, without a significant change in precipitation. This precarious situation will likely expose the plants to both high temperature and temperature-induced drought. Thus, these two climatic factors decide the crop vulnerability of a region presently under cultivation and the emergence of alternate areas likely to be suitable under future climate. While the west coast of India has been found suitable, the south interiors of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, as well as the east coast and north-east, are likely to become less suitable and hence require adaptive strategies for their sustainable cultivation. Sustenance of trees like coconut, arecanut and cocoa contributes not only to the livelihood of the growers but also has a significantly high C-sequestration potential and can sequester carbon for longer periods of more than 30 years, thus mitigating the climate change effect to a certain extent.
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