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GLOBAL CHANGE: VEGETATION, ECOSYSTEMS, AND LAND USE IN THE SOUTHERN MEDITERRANEAN BASIN BY THE MID TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

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According to the Global Circulation Models presently available, the atmospheric temperature in the Mediterranean Basin would increase by 3°C ± 1.5 by 2030–2050, as a result of the rise in the amount of CO2 and other warming gases in the atmosphere. At present, it is, however, impossible to make any dependable prediction as to the evolution of rainfall during the next 60 years; the best “guestimate” would indicate little, if any, change in the amount and/or distribution of rainfall, but perhaps a somewhat increased variability. The paper discusses the consequences of a temperature rise in terms of its impact on vegetation, ecosystems, crops and land use evolution and distribution patterns. On a global regional scale, however, the change will be influenced far more by the exponential human demographic growth (presently 2.8% yr−1) than by the possible temperature increase. Depending on growth scenarios, the total population of the 14 countries considered, situated between the Caspian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, will reach between 800 and 2000 million by 2050. The impact of such an anthropozoic pressure on vegetation, ecosystems, and land use would obviously be tremendous, judging from past and present trends and from the limited areas where the pressure is now comparable. Deforestation, desertization, and erosion will result in changes of major geological magnitude in this part of the world. These would, in turn, have inevitable sociopolitical consequences on these countries as well as on adjacent areas, particularly in the northern part of the Mediterranean Basin. The premises of the change are already being felt in some European countries.

Affiliations: 1: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre d'Eacute;cologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive

10.1080/0021213X.1990.10677170
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/content/journals/10.1080/0021213x.1990.10677170
1990-05-13
2018-09-25

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