Climate Change and Chances for the Cultivation of New Crops
Climate change is one of the greatest environmental, economic and social challenges in the history of mankind and nowadays is considered as the biggest environmental problem of the world. Climate change has a significant global impact and therefore Greece has to deal with its effects as well. Agriculture has been unfavourably affected in recent years, as the current and anticipated conditions in many cases seem to be rather prohibitive for the prosperity of the cultivated crops. On the contrary, these new conditions have made it possible for new plant species previously cultivated only in subtropical regions, to thrive in Greece. Moreover, economic reasons would make it rather necessary for the agricultural industry to cultivate alternative crops, which are thoroughly analysed in the present study. Based on Heating Degree Days (HDD) Greece is divided into four climatic zones. The variations in the mean maximum, mean minimum and mean temperature in each climate zone as well as the rainfall over the last 50 years (from 1964 to 2013) are reviewed in this paper. The outcome of this research is that it is not feasible for the studied alternative crops to thrive in all climate zones or vice versa. However, some of them and particularly crops such as quinoa, maca, psyllium, chia, cassava and pecan can be cultivated in all climate zones. It has also to be noted that adequate water is necessary for almost all the examined crops in order to achieve optimal growth and yield and therefore irrigations are rather necessary for specific species and climate zones.
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