Biodiversity Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (6): 595-606.doi: 10.17520/biods.2019085

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Influence of future climate change in suitable habitats of tea in different countries

Zhang Xiaoling1, 2, Li Yichao2, Wang Yunyun2, Cai Hongyu2, Zeng Hui1, *(), Wang Zhiheng2, *()   

  1. 1 School of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518055
    2 Institute of Ecology and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871
  • Received:2019-03-18 Accepted:2019-05-06 Online:2019-06-20
  • Zeng Hui,Wang Zhiheng;

Tea (Camellia sinensis) is an important crop and is sensitive to climate change. Evaluating the impact of climate change on tea distribution and production is not only important for the global economy but also the livelihoods of farmers in many countries. Here we compiled data from 858 global occurrences of C. sinensis and six climatic variables, and used species distribution model (SDM) to predict the current potential distribution and possible range shifts in response to climate change in 2070 under Representative Concentration Pathway 2.6 and 8.5 (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5). The results indicate that the current potential distribution of tea is mainly confined to Asia, Africa and South America, and distribution is limited by mean temperature of coldest quarter (MTCQ) and precipitation of warmest quarter (PWQ). Under future climate change scenarios, by 2070 suitable habitat for tea could significantly shrink at low latitudes, but expand at middle latitudes, leading to a northward shift of the distribution. However, the influence of future climate change on tea distribution differed across regions. The climatically suitable areas in Argentina, Myanmar, and Vietnam are projected to decrease by 57.8%-95.8%, whereas those in China and Japan are projected to increase by 2.7%-31.5%. Moreover, 68% of the new suitable habitat for tea cultivation under future climate change are predicted to lie within areas of natural vegetation cover. Therefore, the establishment of new tea gardens in these areas may lead to conflicts between tea cultivation and conservation of natural vegetation and biodiversity.

Key words: climate change, tea plantation, species distribution model, biodiversity conservation, land cover

Table 1

Mean importance of seven environmental variables"

Environmental variables
Mean importance
最冷季平均温 Mean temperature of coldest quarter 0.36
最暖季降水量 Precipitation of warmest quarter 0.27
降水季节性 Precipitation seasonality 0.09
平均气温日较差 Mean diurnal temperature range 0.06
最暖月最高温 Max temperature of warmest month 0.04
最干月降水量 Precipitation of driest month 0.03
土壤酸碱度 Soil pH 0.00

Fig. 1

Response curves of six climate variables"

Fig. 2

Tea occurrence points used for constructing species distribution model and the predicted current potential distribution of tea"

Fig. 3

Predicted suitable range shifts of tea by 2070s under different climate scenarios"

Table 2

Predicted suitable area changes of tea (%) for the 2070s"

Net changes in suitable area
RCP2.6 9.1 18.6 -9.5
RCP8.5 14.2 31.1 -16.9

Table 3

Changes of suitable area in major tea-producing countries under different future climate scenarios"

Current suitable area (km2)
Changes in suitable area (km2)
Changes in suitable area (%)
产量 (2016年)
Production (t)
RCP2.6 RCP8.5 RCP2.6 RCP8.5
中国 China 2,607,924 69,384 135,088 2.7 5.2 2,414,802
印度 India 315,323 -9,241 -25,162 -2.9 -8.0 1,252,174
肯尼亚 Kenya 17,994 -4,470 -5,834 -24.8 -32.4 473,000
斯里兰卡 Sri Lanka 9,356 -232 -3,323 -2.5 -35.5 349,308
土耳其 Turkey 2,765 654 -1,619 23.7 -58.6 243,000
越南 Vietnam 75,599 -43,657 -55,005 -57.8 -72.8 240,000
印度尼西亚 Indonesia 260,214 -31,551 -94,931 -12.1 -36.5 144,015
缅甸 Myanmar 38,221 -28,938 -35,895 -75.7 -93.9 102,404
阿根廷 Argentina 32,876 -31,085 -31,503 -94.6 -95.8 89,609
日本 Japan 279,395 27,910 87,979 10.0 31.5 80,200

Fig. 4

Top ten countries with the largest changes in suitable area for tea under different future climate scenarios. (a) Loss suitable area; (b) Gain suitable area."

Table 4

The source of newly suitable areas for tea cultivation under different future climate scenarios"

Land cover
Source of newly suitable areas (%)
RCP2.6 RCP8.5
森林 Forest 46.9 41.5
灌木 Shrub 5.4 8.0
草地 Grassland 15.9 19.4
耕地 Farmland 20.0 16.4
建设用地 Urban 0.5 0.3
其他 Others 11.2 14.4
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