The study assessed the long-term climate as well as the area and production trends for four representative decades (1985-2020) in three apple growing districts of Himachal Pradesh, India with the objective of understanding the impact of climate change on apple crop. A long term database was prepared for minimum temperature (Tmin), maximum temperature (Tmax) and rainfall, besides area and production for four decades for three districts of Himachal Pradesh, India. Trend analysis indicated that the temperature in apple growing regions of generally showed an increasing trend, whereas, decreasing trend was observed in the precipitation. The minimum temperature in apple growing regions of Kullu, Shimla and Kinnaur districts has shown an increase of 0.82º C, 1.09 º C and 0.03 ºC, respectively and the precipitation (rainfall) in the Kullu, Shimla and Kinnaur districts has shown a decrease by 5.3 mm, 3.3 mm and 0.9 mm, respectively. Increased warming in the mountain regions is elevating temperatures resulting in the reduction of chilling hours, pre-requisite for apple fruiting. However, in the higher elevation of Shimla, Kullu and Kinnaur districts, in spite of the increase in temperature, the areas are still suitable for apple farming. The study indicated that the area and production of all three districts of study are increasing because growers are slowly shifting to low chilling varieties (Varieties having chilling hours requirement less than 1000 hours). Also, the present ecosystem at lower elevations will not support high chilling requirement varieties and apple growers will have to shift to either low chilling varieties or alternate crops.
Apple, Climate trends, Himachal Pradesh, Rainfall, Temperature
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