Identifying the global potential for baobab tree cultivation using ecological niche modelling

Sanchez, A. C. and Osborne, P. E. and Haq, N. (2010) Identifying the global potential for baobab tree cultivation using ecological niche modelling. Agroforestry Systems, 80 (2). pp. 191-201.

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The benefits provided by underutilised fruit tree species such as baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in combating increasing malnutrition and poverty become more apparent as awareness grows regarding concerns of climate change and food security. Due to its multiple uses, its high nutritional and medicinal value, drought tolerance and relatively easy cultivation, baobab has been identified as one of the most important edible forest trees to be conserved, domesticated and valued in Africa. In order to contribute towards the cultivation of the species, suitability of sites in Africa and worldwide was evaluated for potential cultivation using species’ locality data and spatial environmental data in MAXENT modelling framework. A total of 450 geo-referenced records of the baobab tree were assembled from herbarium records, commercial firm’s databases and fieldwork for modelling site suitability for global cultivation of the baobab tree. Climatic and topographic data were acquired from the Worldclim data while soil data was obtained from the Harmonized World Soil Database. MAXENT was found to be a successful modelling method for studying cultivation potential. The main variables that contributed towards predicting baobab’s global cultivation potential were annual precipitation and temperature seasonality.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This research was supported by DADOBAT (Domestication and Development of Baobab and Tamarind)- EU funded project. We express our gratitude to the support given by A. Overgaard and all baobab locality data providers. We are grateful to G. E. Wickens for his advice and to anonymous reviewers for useful comments on the manuscript.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Baobab tree, Distribution, Africa, Global cultivation potential, Modelling, Maxent
Author Affiliation: Centre for Underutilised Crops,University of Southampton, Highfield,Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Subjects: Plant Production
Divisions: Other Crops
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2012 03:08
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2012 03:09
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