Mediterranean Ecosystems

Abstract

Mediterranean regions are defined by their unique climate, which is characterized by a hot drought period in summer and cool wet period in winter. They partly cover the Mediterranean Basin, California, southwestern and southern Australia, central Chile and southern Africa. Mediterranean‐type ecosystems present strong similarities concerning vegetation types and functioning, as well as land‐use patterns and general appearance of the landscape.

Keywords: Mediterranean ecosystems; element cycles; water budget; fires; human influence

Figure 1.

Map of the five regions with Mediterranean‐type climate (red). For the Mediterranean Basin, the yellow area corresponds to the Mediterranean–steppe domain (mean annual rainfall between 100 and 400 mm) according to Le Houérou, 1997.

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References

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Further Reading

Blondel J and Aronson J (1999) Biology and Wildlife of the Mediterranean Region. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dallman PR (1998) Plant Life in the World's Mediterranean Climates. Berkely, CA: UC Press.

Groves R and Di Castri F (1991) Biogeography of Mediterranean Invasions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Joffre R, Rambal S and Ratte JP (1999) The dehesa system of southern Spain and Portugal as a natural ecosystem mimic. Agroforestry Systems 45: 57–79.

Le Houérou HN (1997) Biogeography of the arid steppeland North of the Sahara. In: Barakat HN and Hegazy AK (eds) Reviews in Ecology: Desert Conservation and Development, pp. 207–228. Cairo: Metropole.

Rodà F, Retana J, Gracia CA and Bellot J (eds) Ecology of Mediterranean Evergreen Oak Forests, Ecological Studies 137. Berlin: Springer‐Verlag.

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How to Cite close
Joffre, Richard, and Rambal, Serge(Oct 2001) Mediterranean Ecosystems. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003196]