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Climate change may alter conditions for growth of oak trees in Euskadi
Date:7/8/2011

The research was undertaken on the basis of the most pessimistic and severe scenarios for conditions of climate change in the future and claims that for 2080, the oak woods of the Basque Country would undergo a significant or almost total reduction of their habitat, given that, in our territory, wooded areas will not meet the variables of temperature and humidity necessary for their development. Neiker-Tecnalia experts consider that this study illustrates the tendency towards the 'Mediterraneanisation" of woods in Euskadi.

The technological centre is analysing this possible impact of climate change on the distribution of the habitat of forestry species, within the K-Egokitzen and Adaptaclima projects, financed by the Basque Government and the European Union (Interreg IVB SUDOE) respectively. One of the end goals of both projects involved drawing up methodologies in order to help understand how the forestry habitats will be in a short and a long term. In the conclusions from the Neiker-Tecnalia specialists, it is seen that the oak will find favourable conditions for its development in increasingly higher latitudes as time passes.

Based on the results, and assuming the capacity for dispersion of the oak allows it, it is conceivable that it may be a tendency for migration of oak woods towards the north of Europe. Nevertheless, they would keep its own natural habitat in the Basque Country until 2080, a time when it has been predicted they would undergo a significant or almost total reduction of the species habitat. This phenomenon could result in the oak by that year, while still having a great adaptative capacity to the predicted climate change, meeting with a threshold of conditions in which it cannot maintain its population.

The study shows that the oak would lose out potential habitat to make way for other Mediterranean species, such as the cork. Other trees, such as the pyrenean oak, present in the Basque territory, would m
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Contact: Irati Kortabitarte
i.kortabitarte@elhuyar.com
34-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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