Archive for the ‘Desertification’ Category

Olive bioeconomics under climate warming

March 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Inability to determine reliably the direction and magnitude of change in natural and agro-ecosystems due to climate change poses considerable challenge to their management. Olive is an ancient ubiquitous crop having considerable ecological and socioeconomic importance in the Mediterranean Basin. We assess the ecological and economic impact of projected 1.8 °C climate warming on olive and its obligate pest, the olive fly. This level of climate warming will have varying impact on olive yield and fly infestation levels across the Mediterranean Basin, and result in economic winners and losers. The analysis predicts areas of decreased profitability that will increase the risk of abandonment of small farms in marginal areas critical to soil and biodiversity conservation and to fire risk reduction.

Ponti L., Gutierrez A.P., Ruti P.M., Dell’Aquila A., 2014. Fine scale ecological and economic assessment of climate change on olive in the Mediterranean Basin reveals winners and losers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA,

Process-based soil water balance for olive

August 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Olive is of major eco-social importance for the desertification-prone Mediterranean Basin, a climate change and biodiversity hotspot of global relevance where remarkable climate change is expected over the next few decades with unknown ecosystem impacts. However, climate impact assessments have long been constrained by a narrow methodological basis (ecological niche models, ENMs) that is correlative and hence largely omits key impact drivers such as trophic interactions and the effect of water availability. To bridge this gap, mechanistic approaches such as physiologically-based weather-driven demographic models (PBDMs) may be used as they embed by design both the biology of trophic interactions and a mechanistic representation of soil water balance. Here we report progress towards assessing climate effects on olive culture across the Mediterranean region using mechanistic PBDMs that project regionally the multitrophic population dynamics of olive and olive fly as affected by daily weather and soil water balance.

Ponti, L., Gutierrez, A.P., Basso, B., Neteler, M., Ruti, P.M., Dell’Aquila, A. and Iannetta, M., 2013. Olive agroecosystems in the Mediterranean Basin: multitrophic analysis of climate effects with process-based representation of soil water balance. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 19:122-131.

Seminar by A.P. Gutierrez, 16 June 2009

June 19, 2009 Leave a comment
Physiologically Based Models for assessing Climate Change Effects on Mediterranean Agroecosystems
Rome, 16 June 2009 – ENEA CR Casaccia, Via Anguillarese, 301 – Sala Mimose.

Celebrating 2009 World Day to Combat Desertification, June 17.


11,00 – Introduction
M. Iannetta, ENEA, Head of Combating Desertification Unit

11,15 – The Marie Curie “GlobalChangeBiology” European project
L. Ponti, ENEA, Principal investigator

11,40 – “Physiologically Based Models for assessing Climate Change Effects on Mediterranean Agroecosystems”
A. P. Gutierrez, University of California, Berkeley, Project collaborator

Project summary

February 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Analytical tools that provide a synthesis of ecological data are increasingly needed to design and maintain sustainable agroecosystems increasingly disrupted by global change in the form of agro-technical inputs, invasive species, and climate change. This is particularly relevant to the Mediterranean Basin, a climate change hot-spot already threatened by local environmental changes including desertification. The project will provide important tools for summarizing, managing, and analyzing ecological data in agricultural systems to address global change effects using grape and olive as model systems. The project will integrate weather driven physiologically based Ecosystem Modelling (EM) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to derive a dynamic understanding of complex agricultural systems in the face of global change including climate warming. Multivariate analyses will be used to summarize the main effect of model predictions in a space and time independent way to provide a solid but flexible basis for managing Mediterranean grape and olive systems in a changing global environment. The integrated EM/GIS system may be viewed as a library of the current knowledge about agroecosystems that can be extended to other systems, updated with new knowledge and used to help guide multidisciplinary research on local and regional scales. The need for extensive weather datasets to drive the models requires that the EM/GIS technology be linked with remote sensing (RS) to enhance spatial resolution of the approach and increase its real-world applications. This combined innovative EM/GIS/RS tool will provide European governmental agencies with the scientific basis for developing policy required to adjust to global change including climate warming.

This research is supported by a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant within the 7th European Community Framework Programme, project number 224091: “A physiologically-based weather-driven geospatial modelling approach to global change biology: tackling a multifaceted problem with an interdisciplinary tool”.