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Guidance Document

Revegetation to restore the hydrological cycle

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The Mediterranean is a hot-spot of climate change, with projections of increased temperatures and a reduction of precipitation. In some semi-arid areas of the Mediterranean there has been a significant reduction of summer storms that bring rainfall in the driest period of the year, being crucial for many sectors (e.g. agriculture, forests, and for the recharge of aquifers). This reduction in summer storms has been attributed to a change in land cover, in particular, to the growing coastal urbanized areas that have led to a loss of coastal wetlands and irrigated crops, as well as to an increase of large forest fires. However, the full impact of land cover change on the local climate and hydrological cycle is still not well understood. Aside from their effects on local climate, forests provide many other important services to local populations. Thus, reforestation may constitute a no-regret adaptation measure to a changing climate, as long as potential trade-offs, such as the increased risk of wildfires, are taken into account. Actions for Mediterranean areas are proposed.

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