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Natural rubber contributions to adaptation to climate change

Jacob J., Gitz V., Gohet E., Kadir A.B.S.A., Nair L., Pinizzotto S., Nguyen Anh Nghia, Blagodatsky S., Brady M., Cerutti P.O., Chen B., Duchelle A.E., Fairuzah Z., Febbiyanti T.R., Gay F., Jessy M.D., Martius C., Matsui M., Meybeck A., Nouvellon Y., Omokhafe K.O., Othman R., Penot E., Rodrigo L., Rubaizah F., Sainte Beuve J., Singh A., Tajuddin I., Thaler P., Wijaya T., Wjiesuriya W.. 2022. Séoul : KFS, 9 p.. World Forestry Congress. 15, 2022-05-02/2022-05-06, Séoul (Corée, république de).

The purpose of this paper is to present research results relative to impacts of Climate Change on natural rubber production, potential means of adaptation and contribution of rubber to livelihoods resilience to climate change following a recent workshop organized by IRSG in collaboration with CIFOR/FTA, IRRDB and CIRAD. Climate change already impacts rubber production. In some regions longer dry seasons and more variable precipitations threaten the survival of young plants. Rubber has never been planted in areas with an average temperature higher than 28°C; as latex flow after tapping depends on temperature, higher temperatures may have a severe impact on production. Abnormal rains can also disrupt tapping. These modifications will drive a shift of climatically favourable areas. Most pests and diseases affecting rubber are strongly influenced by climate conditions. Climate change is thus likely to modify their distribution and impacts. Without adaptation natural rubber production is projected to decline, in a context of otherwise increasing rubber demand. Three types of adaptation measures can be mobilized: management, breeding, and medium-term planning of plantation renewals and expansion in marginal areas. Management measures include partially shading young plants, mulching them, partial irrigation and life-saving irrigation to address increased risks of drought as well as adopting measures that reduce runoff. Systematic use of rain guards can address impacts of heavy rains on tapping. Better monitoring, prevention and early intervention can reduce damage by pests and diseases. Genomic assisted selection and collection of wild germplasm can support breeding progress towards high yielding, climate resilient and disease resistant clones. Such measures need to be supported by policies promoting the renewal of plantations and changes of practice. As shown by Sri Lanka the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) can offer opportunities to develop an integrated approach to adaptation of rubber to climate change and to contribute to the adaptation of smallholders.

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