Cli­mate change – what it ac­tu­ally means for grow­ers

The Orchardist - - Climate Change -

What can ac­tu­ally be done in prepa­ra­tion? In this ar­ti­cle I will give an up­date on what is hap­pen­ing out there and what is likely to come. I will leave you with some key tips to help you pre­pare the best you can.

Re­cently it’s been hard to miss the weather be­com­ing more ex­treme. The hottest days of the year are be­com­ing hot­ter, our rainy days seem to be wet­ter. As many of us felt short changed by sum­mer this year, some ar­eas were feel­ing the im­pact of drought and in­creased fire dan­ger, most notably in Can­ter­bury where the Christchurch Port Hills caught fire. It burned over 2000ha of land, tak­ing sev­eral homes and a life. Events like this are be­com­ing more fre­quent and al­most an ex­pec­ta­tion each year.

Then on the other hand we have seen an in­crease in heavy rain­fall events. As the whole coun­try felt the ef­fects of ex-cy­clone Cook, cy­clone Deb­bie left its mark mainly on Edge­cumbe. It was hard to miss the im­pacts felt on this small com­mu­nity as the nearby river stop bank burst, flood­ing out the en­tire town. Not to for­get the del­uge that hit Auck­land and the Coro­man­del ear­lier this year, leav­ing some hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ists dev­as­tated. A ki­wifruit or­chard in the area had vines, struc­tures and shel­ters toppled over, only leav­ing a small re­main­der of the vines har­vestable. The flood wa­ters washed silt through­out the or­chard. The re­sult was a clean up that took sev­eral days and a mas­sive hit to or­chard re­turns. Ma­jor rain events like these are ex­pected to be more com­mon and in­tense.

Fur­ther­more, as our cli­mate con­tin­ues to change our ecosys­tems also change, al­low­ing new dis­eases and pathogens to es­tab­lish. An in­creased range of weeds will be found and in large quan­ti­ties be­cause their abil­ity to change with the cli­mate is fast. A re­port by the Royal So­ci­ety of New Zealand in­di­cates that even with the 1°C rise above pre-in­dus­trial av­er­age tem­per­a­tures, that up to 70 na­tive species will face ex­tinc­tion this cen­tury. Not only do grow­ers have to pre­pare for the changes in cli­mate, but also an in­creased risk to new pests and dis­eases.

1-13% spring rain­fall 1-11% spring rain­fall

in Tau­ranga 5-13% win­ter rain­fall á in Para­pa­raumu and

7% â in Master­ton 7-11% á in rain­fall (ex­pect

spring rain­fall; no change )

in­clude emer­gency con­tact num­bers, meet­ing places and plans for dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios e.g. earth­quake, flood­ing, fire.

Own­ers who have ex­pe­ri­enced flood dam­age to their ki­wifruit or­chards all have some help­ful ad­vice to any­one caught in this sit­u­a­tion. “Fo­cus on what you have con­trol of”. They em­pha­sise the im­por­tance of get­ting out of the blame game quickly and mov­ing on. It would be very easy for Edge­cumbe res­i­dents to try and find some­one re­spon­si­ble for the stop bank burst­ing, but it has hap­pened. It is sim­ply bet­ter to move past this and fo­cus on what to do next. After an event passes through many big de­ci­sions have to be made; do we re­lo­cate or re­plant? Is this likely to hap­pen again? They stressed to not rush into any de­ci­sions. Take your time and make ra­tio­nal de­ci­sions.

As much of the hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­try is in ru­ral ar­eas it is im­por­tant to work to­gether. The com­mu­nity should have a plan of where to meet dur­ing an emer­gency and where sup­plies can be ac­cessed. Fur­ther­more, mem­bers of the com­mu­nity should main­tain a con­tact list of neigh­bours, lo­cal ru­ral trust, and lo­cal civil de­fence. Ev­ery­one should be clear on what their role is dur­ing an emer­gency re­sponse. There­fore when a re­sponse is needed, it can be put into ac­tion im­me­di­ately.

The MPI web­site has a range of help­ful re­sources for ad­verse events. These re­sources in­clude ad­vice for droughts and flood­ing, food safety/stor­age tips and ad­vice on men­tal well be­ing. If your or­chard or busi­ness doesn’t have an ad­verse event plan in place, this is a help­ful first stop in es­tab­lish­ing that plan.

This isn’t fake news, our cli­mate is chang­ing. The ev­i­dence is there and the pre­dic­tions are se­ri­ous. It’s im­por­tant to pre­pare for these events and create a plan. Hav­ing a plan will aid in build­ing re­silience into your or­chard or busi­ness. But above all else, work to­gether, look out for each other. In­stead of look­ing at this as a dreary out­look, turn it into an op­por­tu­nity. An op­por­tu­nity to strengthen and de­velop into some­thing even bet­ter than be­fore. You can’t ig­nore this is­sue for much longer, so turn it into a pos­i­tive.

http://roy­al­so­ci­ety.org.nz/what-we-do/our-ex­pert-ad­vice/all­ex­pert-ad­vice-pa­pers/cli­mate-change-im­pli­ca­tions-for-newzealand/

http:// www. mfe. govt. nz/ cli­mate- change/ how- cli­mat­e­change-af­fects-nz/cli­mate-change-im­pacts

https:// www. mpi. govt. nz/ pro­tec­tion- and- re­sponse/ re­spond­ing/ad­verse-events/plan­ning-for-ad­verse-events/

https:// www. fmg. co. nz/ what- we- cover/ farm­ers- grow­ers/ hor­ti­cul­ture-viti­cul­ture/fruit-trees-vines/

http:// www. mfe. govt. nz/ cli­mate- change/ how- cli­mat­e­change- af­fects- nz/ how- might- cli­mate- change- af­fect- myre­gion

Ta­ble 1: Lo­cal Pre­dic­tions Ta­ble for 2090. (Com­pared to 1995)

Fig­ure 1. An­nual Av­er­age Tem­per­a­ture by 2090, left side un­der low emis­sions sce­nario, right side un­der high emis­sions sce­nario.

Fig­ure 2. An­nual Av­er­age Rain­fall by 2090, left side un­der low emis­sions sce­nario, right side un­der high emis­sions sce­nario.

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