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Last update: May 2021

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Mediterranean forests

In the Mediterranean, 7.7% of the world population, forest ecosystems provide multiple goods and services in diverse environmental and socio-economic contexts (Palahi et al., 2008) [1] .

Although they retain a high level of biodiversity, Mediterranean forests are particularly affected by global change and tipping points might be reached during this century with the predicted increase of both the frequency and the intensity of disturbances associated to climate change, land-use change and lifestyle (Regato, 2008 [2] ; FAO, 2013 [3] ). Similar challenges concern forest ecosystems in other Mediterranean climate areas and may also appear in peripheral areas. Adapting forests to global change is particularly challenging because of the multiple levels of uncertainty due to: (i) uncertainty in future socio-economic and climatic scenarios, (ii) hardly predictable response of complex biotic interactions among organisms with various life-cycles (e.g. trees and associated organisms), (iii) long-term persistence of trees that makes the annual fluctuations of global change more important due to cumulative effects, (iv) rapid demographic and economic changes determining different pressures on Mediterranean forests. Therefore, anticipation based on robust and flexible decisions is required to face changes and uncertainty.


[1] Palahi et al., 2008, International Forestry Review 10:676-688

[2] Regato, 2008, Adapting to Global Change: Mediterranean Forests. IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, Malaga, Spain.

[3] FAO, 2013, State of the Mediterranean Forests, FAO, Rome, 173p