Albert Naya i Díaz
Need for re-evaluation of water, forest and agriculture management strategies in Catalan strategy for climate change adaptation
The final conclusions of the LIFE MEDACC project, conducted by the Catalan Office for Climate Change (OCCC) of the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability, CREAF, IPE-CSIC and IRTA, draw attention to the need to adapt forest, agriculture and water management strategies to the new arid conditions expected as a result of climate change. Since 1973, the water flow at the headwaters of the Muga and Ter rivers has dropped by almost half, and the volume of the middle and lower sections of the Segre has decreased by as much as 60%.
Plants' annual growing season has lengthened, exposing them to frost more often at a time when they are particularly sensitive. That can be detrimental to their activity and lead to substantial crop yield losses.
Once rehydrated, holm oaks have a large capacity for recovery thanks to their high adaptation to the Mediterranean climate. The release of organic compounds into the soil represents a considerable loss of carbon for the holm oak and also modifies the microbial community, which may lead to additional effects on the tree.
The increase in drought episodes and the lack of water in the soil have favored Mediterranean species. At the same time, conifers are losing ground because they are less adapted to droughts. These trends correspond to the period of 1987 to 2012 and have been confirmed through satellite remote sensing images.
A study led by CREAF shows that decreases in pollutant deposition and the increase in atmospheric CO2 have stimulated photosynthesis and carbon sequestration in forests. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how carbon circulates in the atmosphere, in living organisms, oceans, and soils in order to anticipate the effects of climate change.