Global Warming Changes Apple Farming in Korea
Global warming is changing apple farming in Korea as orchards gradually disappear in southeastern Daegu but spread further north in mountainous Gangwon Province. Gangwon used to have about the same area of apple orchards as Daegu but now has 3.5 times more.According to the Rural Development Administration, apple farming land in North Gyeongsang Province shrank 44.1 percent compared to 1993, from 36,021 hectares to 20,151 hectares, and in Daegu from 447 hectares to 86 hectares.Although North Gyeongsang Province remains Korea's top spot for apple farming with 59.7 percent, the proportion continues to shrink because of climate change.
Apples grow best in average annual temperatures of 15 to 18 degrees Celsius, and rising summer temperatures have caused output to drop in many areas. As orchards moved further north, Gangwon Province has seen a 247.6 percent increase in cultivated land compared to 30 years ago to 1,679 hectares.Highland areas of South Gyeongsang and North Jeolla provinces have also seen apple output rise because it is cooler there.The Rural Development Administration wants to counter the trend by cultivating apples that fit the climatic conditions of each region. For instance, orchards in North Gyeongsang Province will grow more varieties that stay green at full maturity but still taste sweet, while Gangwon Province will grow apples that become sweeter in fluctuating temperatures.