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The variable impacts of extreme weather events on fruit production in subtropical Australia
journal contributionposted on 2020-03-11, 00:00 authored by Mst Sabrina HaqueMst Sabrina Haque, Delwar AkbarDelwar Akbar, Susan KinnearSusan Kinnear
The frequency and severity of extreme weather events (EWEs) has recently been increased in coastal subtropical regions in Australia. These EWEs particularly affect agricultural production through disruptions to the entire agricultural supply chain. Central Queensland (CQ) is a large sub-tropical region in Australia and has been frequently affected by various types of EWEs, particularly since 1999. This study examines the impact of EWEs on the production of three tropical fruits (i.e., pineapple, mango and lychee) in CQ. Meteorological and fruit production data were collected from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Bureau of Statistics respectively. An Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression model was used to identify the relationship(s) between EWEs and the production volumes of the three selected fruits. This study found that EWEs moderately affected mango, lychee and pineapple production. A significant relationship was also observed between the fruit production volume and population growth of CQ as well as that of the broader state of Queensland. However, the results should be interpreted with caution given that this case study was limited to localised flood data, rather than using comprehensive modelling of regional rainfall and other variables, which would better reflect the geography and climate of the fruit production areas. The results derived from this study would be beneficial for tropical fruit industries worldwide, as they make plans to response to increasingly extreme weather; with a key finding being the important of understanding not only the occurrence, but also the seasonality of EWEs and comparing this with the growing and harvesting periods for global fruit production.