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Mediterranean forest loss due to desertification predicted by scientists

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Geologists at the German University of Heidelberg expect the risk of desertification of forests in the Mediterranean basin to increase in the future due to climate change.

According to Nature Communications, the researchers studied and analyzed fossil pollen grains found in cores taken from the Tenagi-Philippo deposits in northeastern Greece and reconstructed the state of ecosystems in the region over the past 500,000 years.

It became clear to the researchers that in the conditions of a long-term drought, which has already taken place in the past and is predicted by climate models, desertification of the forests of the Mediterranean basin is not ruled out in the near future.

The results showed that, in the past, the forests of the Mediterranean Basin turned into plains over several decades when a certain threshold of precipitation was reached. For example, it was enough to reduce humidity by 40-50 percent for forests to turn into plains. The environmental models also allowed the researchers to take into account possible factors that caused the change in rainfall. For example, a change in the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been linked to the amount of precipitation that has fallen in a region.

It should be noted that the forests of the Mediterranean basin are not only an important area for biodiversity, but also regulate the climatic and hydrological conditions in the region, provide the inhabitants of the region with food and timber.

Source: Linta. EN

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