Climatic zoning of chia (Salvia hispanica L.) in Chile using a species distribution model

Daniela Cortés, Herman Silva, Cecilia Baginsky, Luis Morales


Salvia hispanica L., known as chia, is a plant species originally from tropical and subtropical Mesoamerica. It is economically important because its seeds produce omega-3, thus its demand has increased in Chile and internationally. As there is no commercial production in Chile, we investigated the places in the country where this species could be cultivated in order to satisfy at the least the national demand. The aim of the study was to quantify the main climatic requirements of chia and to produce a climatic aptitude map for chia cultivation in Chile. The methodology was based on the Maxent species distribution model. We used 78 georeferenced data points where chia is grown throughout the world, mostly from the GBIF database, along with raster climatic layers from the Worldclim project. We estimated the performance curves of annual precipitation and temperature along with their respective optimal and critical values, in analogy with the Ecocrop method. The maps used two scenarios for crops in different conditions, with and without irrigation. The results indicated that the intermediate depression and coastal edge of mainly the Arica y Parinacota, Tarapacá, Antofagasta and Atacama regions have optimum conditions for irrigated crops, but it would be impossible in rainfed conditions. We conclude that chia’s cultivation niche is reduced due to its tropical climate requirements; however, it can be cultivated under irrigation in northern Chile.


functional food; performance curves; suitability, Maxent

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2017153-9935