Mediterranean Marginal Lands in Face of Climate Change: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

  • Helena CastroEmail author
  • Paula Castro
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Mediterranean landscapes are the result of the interaction of a long history of anthropogenic disturbances (cultivation, grazing, timber and fuel wood) with natural disturbances (such as fire, floods and extreme droughts) and a variable climate. Often ecosystems in these landscapes are characterized by having soils that are marginal for production. On the other hand, these ecosystems often have multiple land uses, including livestock breeding, forestry and cultivation, creating ecosystems that are of great importance for their environmental and socio-economic value. Climate change is expected to modify patterns of precipitation with predictions for the Mediterranean pointing to enhanced drought and increased frequency of extreme events. The impact of rainfall variability on grassland productivity represents a topic of concern due to its relevance for agricultural activities such as livestock production a key economic activity in Mediterranean marginal lands. In this chapter we present a review of the effects of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem services associated with agro-silvo-pastoral systems while also approaching the associated socio-economic and desertification issues. Finally we review studies on conventional and alternative management strategies in in search for strategies to cope with climate change.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CFE-Centre for Functional Ecology - Science for People & the Planet, Department of Life SciencesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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