Of the four representative species of the Mediterranean climate - the holm oak (Quercus ilex), the kermes oak (Quercus coccifera), the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), and the Phoenician juniper (Juniperus phoenicea) - the last is the one which best adapts to the adverse conditions of water stress. However, this does not mean the disappearance of the other three species that have been studied. This is the conclusion drawn from his PhD by Francisco Javier Baquedano, agricultural engineer at the Public University of Navarre.
The study was centred on the Mediterranean area, a transition climatic region where weather effects are more pronounced, involving a climate characterised by a long, hot, dry summer. The summer drought coincides with a high evaporative factor and this is why it is considered as the most important factor limiting the production, growth and distribution of plants in the Mediterranean ecosystems.
The survival of plants under these adverse conditions greatly depends on their ability to compensate for loss of water and to their carbon-fixing properties. The balance between these two processes could be the key to the competition between the species and consequently, to the relative presence of flora in the ecosystems. It has also been suggested that the winter, cold and with little precipitation, influences in an important manner the development and distribution of the Mediterranean perennial species.
Iñaki Casado Redin | Basque research
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