Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Walnut trees may not be able to withstand climate change

Date:
November 30, 2011
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
Warmer, drier summers and extreme weather events considered possible as the climate changes would be especially troublesome -- possibly fatal -- for walnut trees, according to researchers.

Douglass Jacobs is concerned that warmer, drier conditions and extreme weather conditions predicted in climate change scenarios could have adverse effects on walnut trees.
Credit: Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell

Warmer, drier summers and extreme weather events considered possible as the climate changes would be especially troublesome -- possibly fatal -- for walnut trees, according to research at Purdue University.

Over five years, Douglass Jacobs, a professor of forestry and natural resources, and Martin-Michel Gauthier, a former doctoral student under Jacobs who is now a research scientist in the Ministry of Natural Resources in Quebec, studied the physiology of walnut trees, which are economically significant in Indiana for their lumber and veneer, and in other areas for their nuts. They found that the trees are especially sensitive to particular climates.

"Walnut is really restricted to sites not too wet or dry. It has an extremely narrow range," said Jacobs, whose findings were published in the December issue of Annals of Forest Science. "We suspect and predict that climate change is going to have a real impact on walnuts. We may see some type of decline of the species."

Specifically, walnuts would have difficulty tolerating droughts that could be associated with a changing climate.

"Changes in moisture could restrict its ability to survive without irrigation," Jacobs said. "Almost all climate change models predict that climates will become drier."

Walnuts are also sensitive to cold, so much so that they have developed a defense mechanism against late frosts. Jacobs said walnut trees don't begin sprouting leaves until almost a month after other trees in the spring.

That defense mechanism could be compromised by extreme weather events associated with climate change scenarios. Late spring frosts after walnuts have developed leaves could kill trees.

"That, on top of the increase in temperatures, would be a problem for walnut," Gauthier said. "The trees would basically shut down."

In California, more than 500,000 tons of walnuts were sold for more than $1 billion in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In Indiana, black walnuts are prized for their wood. Charles Michler, project leader of Purdue's Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center, said walnuts accounted for as much as 15 percent of the logs sold in Indiana at a value of about $11 million.

"Walnut is probably the most important species in the hardwood products industry today," Michler said.

The center has a walnut breeding program that is attempting to identify trees that can be used in different climates, he said.

One goal is to find walnuts that may be able to stand up to the heat or cold stresses that trees could be subject to in a changing climate. The center is looking at seeds that come from mature trees to see if the seeds have attained defense mechanisms against changes already seen in climate.

"That could be the strategy that trees have," Michler said. "The trees that are mature now may be affected by climate change, but the seeds they produce may be adapting through genetic changes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. The original article was written by Brian Wallheimer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Martin-Michel Gauthier, Douglass F. Jacobs. Walnut (Juglans spp.) ecophysiology in response to environmental stresses and potential acclimation to climate change. Annals of Forest Science, 2011; 68 (8): 1277 DOI: 10.1007/s13595-011-0135-6

Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Walnut trees may not be able to withstand climate change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111129103312.htm>.
Purdue University. (2011, November 30). Walnut trees may not be able to withstand climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111129103312.htm
Purdue University. "Walnut trees may not be able to withstand climate change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111129103312.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins