Effects of climate change on Greek forests: a review

A new research paper published on the Atmosphere (MDPI) Journal examines the impact of climate change on Greek forests, covering various factors such as climate trends, biodiversity, genetics, insects, and wildfires.

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Photo: Panagiotis P. Koulelis

A new study by the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems (IMFE) in Greece focuses on climate change and extreme weather outcomes in Greek forests. The research relies on data from the Scopus and Mendeley databases as well as few official reports and identifies two to four knowledge gaps and one to three key challenges related to the six research areas (climate trends, forest management, biodiversity, genetics, insects, and wildfires).

Greek mountain forests at 520–1310 metres experience decreasing annual mean and minimum temperatures (−0.015 and −0.027 °C yr–1) but increasing maximum temperatures (+0.014 °C yr–1), especially in Southern Greece (+0.047 °C yr–1).

Recent findings reveal forests migrating to higher altitudes with favorable conditions, correlating with water availability, temperature, and tree growth, necessitating further research on forest productivity. A decline in fir tree-ring growth (Average Tree Ring Width Index < 0.6) is observed in mainland Greece, indicating temperature’s effect on growth.

Photo: Panagiotis P. Koulelis

Effective forest tree conservation requires prioritising biodiversity monitoring, considering climate change impacts on phenology and addressing the absence of strategies to protect and enhance genetic diversity. Climate change influenced 70 forestry pests’ ranges, notably among Greek insect pests. Annual burned areas from forest fires data indicate a consistent long-term increasing trend, underscoring fire prevention prioritisation and exploring fire risk, behavior, and climate change.

Read the full article

Reference

Koulelis, P.P.; Proutsos, N.; Solomou, A.D.; Avramidou, E.V.; Malliarou, E.; Athanasiou, M.; Xanthopoulos, G.; Petrakis, P.V. Effects of Climate Change on Greek Forests: A Review. Atmosphere 2023, 14, 1155. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14071155

SOURCEInstitute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems (IMFE)
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Panagiotis Koulelis
Panagiotis Koulelis is an associate researcher at the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems located in Athens, Greece. His areas of expertise include sustainable forest management, forest sector modeling, timber industry and trade, forest growth, and the interactions with climate change.