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Article

Climate Change Patterns of Wild Blueberry Fields in Downeast, Maine over the Past 40 Years

1
School of Biology & Ecology, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA
2
School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Orono, ME 04469, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Manoj K. Jha
Water 2021, 13(5), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050594
Received: 2 January 2021 / Revised: 4 February 2021 / Accepted: 9 February 2021 / Published: 25 February 2021
Maine, USA is the largest producer of wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton), an important native North American fruit crop. Blueberry fields are mainly distributed in coastal glacial outwash plains which might not experience the same climate change patterns as the whole region. It is important to analyze the climate change patterns of wild blueberry fields and determine how they affect crop health so fields can be managed more efficiently under climate change. Trends in the maximum (Tmax), minimum (Tmin) and average (Tavg) temperatures, total precipitation (Ptotal), and potential evapotranspiration (PET) were evaluated for 26 wild blueberry fields in Downeast Maine during the growing season (May–September) over the past 40 years. The effects of these climate variables on the Maximum Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVImax) were evaluated using Remote Sensing products and Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. We found differences in the increase in growing season Tmax, Tmin, Tavg, and Ptotal between those fields and the overall spatial average for the region (state of Maine), as well as among the blueberry fields. The maximum, minimum, and average temperatures of the studied 26 wild blueberry fields in Downeast, Maine showed higher rates of increase than those of the entire region during the last 40 years. Fields closer to the coast showed higher rates of warming compared with the fields more distant from the coast. Consequently, PET has been also increasing in wild blueberry fields, with those at higher elevations showing lower increasing rates. Optimum climatic conditions (threshold values) during the growing season were explored based on observed significant quadratic relationships between the climate variables (Tmax and Ptotal), PET, and EVImax for those fields. An optimum Tmax and PET for EVImax at 22.4 °C and 145 mm/month suggest potential negative effects of further warming and increasing PET on crop health and productivity. These climate change patterns and associated physiological relationships, as well as threshold values, could provide important information for the planning and development of optimal management techniques for wild blueberry fields experiencing climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: fruit crop; Vaccinium angustifolium; temperature; precipitation; rainfall anomaly; potential evapotranspiration; enhanced vegetation index fruit crop; Vaccinium angustifolium; temperature; precipitation; rainfall anomaly; potential evapotranspiration; enhanced vegetation index
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tasnim, R.; Drummond, F.; Zhang, Y.-J. Climate Change Patterns of Wild Blueberry Fields in Downeast, Maine over the Past 40 Years. Water 2021, 13, 594. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050594

AMA Style

Tasnim R, Drummond F, Zhang Y-J. Climate Change Patterns of Wild Blueberry Fields in Downeast, Maine over the Past 40 Years. Water. 2021; 13(5):594. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050594

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tasnim, Rafa, Francis Drummond, and Yong-Jiang Zhang. 2021. "Climate Change Patterns of Wild Blueberry Fields in Downeast, Maine over the Past 40 Years" Water 13, no. 5: 594. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13050594

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