Reassessing global change research priorities in mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems: How far have we come and where do we go from here?

E. Doblas-Miranda*, J. Martínez-Vilalta, F. Lloret, A. Álvarez, A. Ávila, F. J. Bonet, L. Brotons, J. Castro, J. Curiel Yuste, M. Díaz, P. Ferrandis, E. García-Hurtado, J. M. Iriondo, T. F. Keenan, J. Latron, J. Llusià, L. Loepfe, M. Mayol, G. Moré, D. MoyaJ. Peñuelas, X. Pons, R. Poyatos, J. Sardans, O. Sus, V. R. Vallejo, J. Vayreda, J. Retana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems serve as reference laboratories for the investigation of global change because of their transitional climate, the high spatiotemporal variability of their environmental conditions, a rich and unique biodiversity and a wide range of socio-economic conditions. As scientific development and environmental pressures increase, it is increasingly necessary to evaluate recent progress and to challenge research priorities in the face of global change. Location: Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems. Methods: This article revisits the research priorities proposed in a 1998 assessment. Results: A new set of research priorities is proposed: (1) to establish the role of the landscape mosaic on fire-spread; (2) to further research the combined effect of different drivers on pest expansion; (3) to address the interaction between drivers of global change and recent forest management practices; (4) to obtain more realistic information on the impacts of global change and ecosystem services; (5) to assess forest mortality events associated with climatic extremes; (6) to focus global change research on identifying and managing vulnerable areas; (7) to use the functional traits concept to study resilience after disturbance; (8) to study the relationship between genotypic and phenotypic diversity as a source of forest resilience; (9) to understand the balance between C storage and water resources; (10) to analyse the interplay between landscape-scale processes and biodiversity conservation; (11) to refine models by including interactions between drivers and socio-economic contexts; (12) to understand forest-atmosphere feedbacks; (13) to represent key mechanisms linking plant hydraulics with landscape hydrology. Main conclusions: (1) The interactive nature of different global change drivers remains poorly understood. (2) There is a critical need for the rapid development of regional- and global-scale models that are more tightly connected with large-scale experiments, data networks and management practice. (3) More attention should be directed to drought-related forest decline and the current relevance of historical land use.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)25-43
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Atmosphere-biosphere interaction
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Factors interaction
  • Fire regime
  • Forest management
  • Land-use change
  • Research gaps
  • Water reserves

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