Comparative analysis and synthesis of the patterns of regeneration, decline and distribution of Quercus species: capacity of resilience to cope with global changeLOS ALCORNOCALES NATURAL PARK

Woodlands and shrublands dominated by Quercus species represent a major part (55%) of the forested land in Andalusia; they are also dominant in other Mediterranean areas. Oak forests provide with valuable products (timber, fuelwood, cork, acorn) and ecosystem services (water quality, biodiversity, landscape, recreation) for the society; however, under the current conditions of global change the persistence of these forests is threaten.  Therefore it is urgent to do a detailed analysis of the resilience capacity of these oak formations and a synthesis of the large and diverse scientific literature published recently (4048 citations in the ISI database on Quercus in Spain and Portugal). The main objectives in this project are: 1) to review, analyse (with meta-analysis techniques) and synthesize the existing information about the Quercus species, in particular of those from Andalusia, and compare them with the rest of Spain and the West Mediterranean. Main topics to cover are: 1.1) demographical mechanisms and factors limiting oak regeneration; 1.2) ecophysiological response of seedlings (plant stage especially sensitive) to adverse conditions; and 1.3) processes of decline and mortality. 2) Monitoring of demographic and ecophysiological parameters across a geographic gradient, taking advantage of the network of study sites used by the project participants (belonging to 11 research centres). 3) Analysis at regional scale (Andalusia) of the distribution patterns of the Quercus species, their relation with climate, soil types and management history, and to generate models to predict future changes under diverse environmental and socio-economic scenarios. Analysis at landscape scale (“monte”) of the management effects by the study of historical series of forest ordination and inventories (made during the last century) in public forest estates in four selected areas in Andalusia. Lastly, as general applied results of the project, several management recommendations will be proposed to favour the resilience of the Quercus-dominated woodlands and shrublands under global change.

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Comparative analysis and synthesis of the patterns of regeneration, decline and distribution of Quercus species
Coordinate by
Proyecto de investigación de excelencia. Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Empresa
15 marzo 2011 – 14 marzo 2014