The forests have been developing over thousands years during which the climate has undergone tremendous changes, but the plant communities were able to adapt and survive such changes as have occurred slowly. The climate change induced by humans is faster and is not likely to allow ecosystems to adapt effectively: the temperature increase is unprecedented and the occurrence of various difficulties for forest ecosystems, such as the low variability, high density, new epidemics, threaten to make the adaptation more difficult.
The average temperature in Europe has increased by almost 1° C over the last century and one of the most optimistic scenarios foresees a further increase of 2° C by 2100. A change of this magnitude corresponds to the difference in the good temperature of forest types, as different as the fir-wood compared to the Mediterranean bushes, or the Mediterranean bushes compared to the oak forest. This will cause a change in the distribution of the vegetation belts and extreme events such as storms, fires, droughts and heat waves heat, are expected with increasing frequency.
The projections of the effects of climate change on European forests are complex: in North WestEurope, where water resources are typically less limited, the growth rates are likely to be accelerated by a combination of increased levels of carbon dioxide in 'atmosphere, a longer growing season and an increase of available nutrients as a result of further atmospheric deposits and a more rapid mineralization of soil.
In Southern Europe, where water availability is a limiting factor, the most frequent summer droughts may lead to reduced productivity and lower resilience of forest. As a result of droughts and heat waves, has been frequently observed the decline of forest populations in recent decades in the Mediterranean countries, with loss of pines and oaks attributable to dry and hot climatic conditions, often worsened by biotic factors (pests and insects).
The overall objective of the project is to preserve the forest systems in the Mediterranean environment from the risks posed by climate change through naturalization processes, increased biodiversity and improved responsiveness in the recovery process due to destabilizing events.
The specific objective of the project is to implement a regional forest policy to increase the resilience of forests in Sicily, improving efficiency of ecosystems and promoting preservation of biodiversity.