Wetlands in warm ecoregions - overview
Med-region riparian zones differ from their mesic temperate and tropical counterparts in several key ways. Regionally, they support a dense and productive closed-canopy forest ecosystem relative to the surrounding landscape, which is typically a matrix of xeric woodlands, shrub and grassland communities. Optimum conditions of sunlight, nutrients, and water support high productivity and forest canopy heterogeneity that is typically more complex than in adjacent and upland areas.
All med-regions support distinct riparian flora, although many genera have invaded across regions. Plant species in all regions are adapted to multiple abiotic stressors, including dynamic flooding and sediment regimes, seasonal water shortage, and fire.
Climate change resulting from increased anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is projected to have a particularly strong effect on med-regions. With an average temperature rise of 2°C or more in the Mediterranean basin, decreased precipitation is projected, along with increased frequency and duration of the droughts and desertification An increased risk of inland flash floods from intensification of extreme events and greater fire frequencies under a warmer and drier climate can potentially effect riparian community composition and succession, vegetation structure, and carbon storage.
For further reading
- Stella, J. C., Rodriguez-Gonzalez, P. M., Dufour, S., & Bendix, J. (2012). Riparian vegetation research in Mediterranean-climate regions: common patterns, ecological processes, and considerations for management. Hydrobiologia. doi:10.1007/s10750-012-1304-9
link to article