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Impact of soil temperature on fruit species within climate change scenarios

Soil temperature experiment on cape gooseberries, carried out at the Humboldt-University Berlin. Photo: G. Fischer


Climate change, with its consequent increase in temperatures and precipitation, has significant impacts on soil surface horizons, affecting the establishment, development, and production of crops and food security and safety. Solar radiation influences the thermals of Earth's surface. Apart from radiation, the effects of soil temperature (STe) are specific to fruit species and are mainly modified by humidity, soil cover and air temperature. Increasing the STe within an optimal range promotes the growth of roots and plants and increases the absorption of water and nutrients, photosynthesis, transpiration, efficient use of water and microbial processes. These effects have been demonstrated in several studies on fruit trees and on grape vines, citrus, cape gooseberries, Annonaceae, avocados, olives and prickly pears. However, apart from these positive results, an increased STe as the result of global warming can generate water stress and in turn affect the yield and quality of fruit trees. In terms of effects from cultural practices, mulching with black or blue plastic can increase the soil temperature, and white or silver plastic decreases it. When compared to air temperature, increases in STe in the plants physiology and climate impact studies have been little studied. Therefore, this review aimed to make significant contributions to facilitate decision-making with the goal of reducing the effects of global warming, especially on fruit trees.


Solar radiation, Mulching, Roots, Water absorption, Photosynthesis, Water use efficiency



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