Reviving extinct Mediterranean forest communities may improve ecosystem potential in a warmer future

Henne, Paul Daniel; Elkin, Ché; Franke, Jörg; Colombaroli, Daniele; Calò, Camilla; La Mantia, Tommaso; Pasta, Salvatore; Conedera, Marco; Dermody, Orla; Tinner, Willy (2015). Reviving extinct Mediterranean forest communities may improve ecosystem potential in a warmer future. Frontiers in ecology and the environment, 13(7), pp. 356-362. Ecological Society of America 10.1890/150027

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The Mediterranean Basin is the region of Europe most vulnerable to negative climate-change impacts, including forest decline, increased wildfire, and biodiversity loss. Because humans have affected Mediterranean ecosystems for millennia, it is unclear whether the region's native ecosystems were more resilient to climate change than current ecosystems, and whether they would provide sustainable management options if restored. We simulated vegetation with the LandClim model, using present-day climate as well as future climate-change scenarios, in three representative areas that encompass a broad range of Mediterranean conditions and vegetation types. Sedimentary pollen records that document now-extinct forests help to validate the simulations. Forests modeled under present climate closely resemble the extinct forests when human disturbance is limited; under future scenarios, characterized by increased temperatures and decreased precipitation, extinct forests are projected to re-emerge. When combined with modeling, paleoecological evidence reveals the potential of native vegetation to re-establish under current and future climate conditions, and provides a template for novel management strategies to maintain forest productivity and biodiversity in a warmer and drier future.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Climatology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

Graduate School:

Graduate School of Climate Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Henne, Paul Daniel; Franke, Jörg; Colombaroli, Daniele; Calò, Camilla and Tinner, Willy

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1540-9295

Publisher:

Ecological Society of America

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

14 Sep 2015 11:37

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2016 09:23

Publisher DOI:

10.1890/150027

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.71515

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/71515

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