Biodiv Sci ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (6): 595-606.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019085

• Original Papers:Plant Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

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 Published:2019-06-20
  • Contact: 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