, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 29-40
Date: 20 Oct 2006

Climate Change Effects on Mediterranean Forests and Preventive Measures

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Abstract

This paper synthesizes and reviews literature concerning climate change effects on Mediterranean forest ecology and management as well as the restorative techniques necessary to maintain forest health, forest yield and biodiversity. Climate change compounded with trends of rural abandonment are likely to diminish forested areas within the Mediterranean basin that will be replaced by fire prone shrub communities. This could be favoured by outbreaks of pathogens, fire and other large-scale disturbances. Landscape fragmentation is expected to impede species migration. Annual increments and subsequent income from forests are expected to decrease. Reafforestations are necessary to ensure the presence of propagules of forest species and their site-specific varieties best adapted to future climatic conditions even though they may be different from the present forest-plant community. Current challenges in biodiversity conservation can only be met by afforestations whose main objective is to maintain ecosystem functioning. A new silviculture must emerge encompassing these habitat displacement and economic concerns while maximizing carbon sequestration.