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Olive crop-yield forecasting based on airborne pollen in a region where the olive groves acreage and crop system changed drastically
- Ribeiro, Helena, Abreu, Ilda, Cunha, Mário
- Aerobiologia 2017 v.33 no.4 pp. 473-480
- Olea europaea, acreage, crop yield, data collection, groves, models, olives, pollen, regression analysis, time series analysis, trees, Portugal
- Olive trees are one of the most economically important perennial crops in Portugal. During the last decade, the Alentejo olive-growing region has suffered a significantly change in the crop production system, with the regional pollen index (RPI) and olive fruit production registering a significant growth. The aim of this study was to ascertain the utility of this highly variable production and pollen data in crop forecasting modeling. Airborne pollen was sampled using a Cour-type trap from 1999 to 2015. A linear regression model fitted with the regional pollen index as the independent variable showed an accuracy of 87% in estimating olives fruit production in Alentejo. However, the average deviation between observed and modeled production was 32% with half of the tested years presenting deviations between 36 and 66%. The low accuracy of this model is a consequence of the great overall variation and significant upward trend observed in both the production and the RPI dataset that conceal the true association between these variables. In order to overcome this problem, a detrend procedure was applied to both time series to remove the trend observed. The regression model fitted with the fruit production and the RPI detrended data showed a lowest forecasting accuracy of 63% but the average deviation between observed and modeled production decrease to 14% with a maximum deviation value of 33%. This procedure allows focusing the analysis on the production fluctuations related to the biological response of the trees rather than with the changes in the production system.