Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group


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MSc project

Hardanger fruit production

Bjørn Arild Hatteland (Bioforsk and Bio), Mekjell Meland (Bioforsk), Frank Maas (Wageningen)

Bioforsk-Ullensvang research station at Hardanger fjord in Lofthus
Frank Maas


Estimating risks of climate change on fruit production in Hardanger area

The growth and development of fruit trees, like in any other plant species, are very responsive to temperature, light intensity, photoperiod, rain fall and humidity. Further, most fruit species depend on cross pollination. For this purpose polliniser trees are usually planted within the orchard that have been selected on the basis of their similar flowering time and compatible pollen to achieve fertilisation and fruit-setting of the flowers of the main commercial cultivar.

Aim: Find possible relationships between climate change and changes in fruit tree development.

Change in climate may affect fruit production. Cultivars presently grown may no longer be suitable and need to be replaced by ones that are more suited to the future climate. This may not only be because of direct effects of climate change on the phenological development, fruit-set or development of the trees but also because the currently grown cultivars may become less suitable due to their sensitivity to new pests and disease that may appear as a consequence of climate change.

Since 1990 phenology dates for fruit-tree development from flowering until harvest have been collected at the Bioforsk Fruit research centre in Lofhus, Ullensvang. Climate data from the weather station at this site are also available. This makes it possible to determine if there are any correlations between fruit tree development and changes in local climate over the last 13 years.

This study will include working with historical data files as well as making field observations on fruit tree phenological development in the current year. The main part of the work will be carried out at the Bioforsk research station in Lofthus, Ullensvang.

Bjørn Arild Hatteland (Bjorn.Hatteland@bioforsk.no), Mekjell Meland (Mekjell.Meland@bioforsk.no), Frank Maas (frank.maas@wur.nl)