In situ effects of climate change (rising temperature, and altered precipitation patterns) across different trophic groups in Azorean orchards.

  • Estado
  • Nome
    Maria Teresa M. da Rocha B. Ferreira
  • Entidade de acolhimento
    GBA – Grupo de Biodiversidade dos Açores (cE3c)


The Azores archipelago has unique characteristic natural features (humid temperate climate and volcanic geomorphology). The main objective of this proposal is to set-up an in situ experimental framework to study the effects of temperature increase and extreme precipitation patterns on Azorean orchards, focusing on arthropods and plants. We intend to generate field data that can be used to predict more accurately the consequences of climate change for these systems, and how these can be applied by decision makers. For this, we propose to use agroecosystems (orchards) in Terceira Island.

The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. Investigate what are the physiological responses of orchard plant species to the rise of temperatures and extreme rain patterns (WP 1 and 2) answering the following: i) How do these changes affect the net primary productivity in orchard plants?; ii) How is the reproductive capability of the plants affected?; iii) How is the mortality of the species affected?(WP 3)
  2. Investigate the responses in terms of changes in herbivore and predatory arthropod taxonomic and functional diversity, and abundance in an orchard system when it is subject to risen temperatures or an extreme rain pattern (simulated summer droughts) (WP 3). We will aim to answer the following questions: i) How do these changes affect the relative species abundance (e.g. variation in SADs) of arthropod guilds?; ii) Does the arthropod diversity change with changing climatic conditions? iii) Is there a replacement of key species and functional guilds of endemic arthropods?
  3. Compare these findings with ex situ experiments to analyze their reliability (WP4).
  4. Use the results from the experiments in conjunction with climatic models to better predict locations and seasons for orchard production (WP5).
  5. Use these results to determine if there are climate change indicators for the Azorean orchards (WP6), and disseminate these results.

Climate change mitigation international policies are becoming an important factor in the future of agriculture in Europe and the world. Efforts to conserve biological diversity on islands are increasing worldwide. The CBD Global Island Partnership (GLISPA; visited 2 Nov 2016) aims to assist islands “in addressing one of the world’s greatest challenges — to conserve and sustainably utilize invaluable island natural resources that support people, cultures and livelihoods in their island homes around the world.” Europe is politically responsible for several overseas territories, most of them islands. The importance of these territories for global biodiversity has been highlighted repeatedly. The last example is the Declaration of Guadeloupe (2014) in the International Conference on Biodiversity and Climate Change held in Guadeloupe from 22-25 October 2014. (See This works’ objectives are intended to bring some more knowledge and practical applications not only to the farmers themselves, but also to the decision makers in order to improve agricultural policies toward mitigation of the climate change impacts.