Potential suitable habitat of Eleusine coracana (L) gaertn (Finger millet) under the climate change scenarios in Nepal
Luitel, Dol R.
Joshi, Mohan D.
Jha, Pramod K.
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Abstract Background Finger millet is the fourth major crop in Nepal and is cultivated in a traditional integrated subsistence system. Timely rain and appropriate temperature predominately affects crop distribution and yield. Climate change is evident in Nepal and it is imperative to understand how it affects habitat suitability of finger millet. Main objective of this study was to map the current suitable habitat and predicting the potential changes in the future under different climate scenarios in Nepal. Habitat mapping is important for maximizing production and minimizing the loss of local landraces. Results Maxent model was used in this study to quantify the current suitable habitat and changes in the future habitat suitability of finger millet, based on representative concentration pathways (RCP) (RCP 2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5) in two different time periods (2050 and 2070AD) using climatic predictive variables and species localities. The model shows that 39.7% (58512.71 km2) area of Nepal is highly suitable for finger millet, with cultivation mostly between 96 and 2300 m above sea level. Eastern and central parts of Nepal have more suitable areas than western parts. Our research clearly shows that the future climatic suitable area of finger millet would shrink by 4.3 to 8.9% in 2050 and 8.9–10.5% under different RCPs by 2070. Conclusion Finger millet is mostly cultivated in mid-hill terraces. The substantial increase in temperature due to climate change may be one reason for decrease in habitat suitability of finger millet. This situation would further threat loss of local landraces of finger millet in the future. The findings can help in planning and policy framing for climate resilient smart agriculture practice.