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Evaluating the ecosystem services and disservices provided by Mediterranean woodlands

Supervisor: David A Coomes

Reference Code: C219

Importance of the area of research concerned:  Mediterranean woodlands are accumulating biomass at a regional scale following abandonment of historical management for charcoal and timber production.  Whilst these woodlands are becoming “wilder” as a result of land abandonment and are sequestering carbon and protecting soils, they may be more susceptible to catastrophic fire,  may transpire more precious water before it reaches reservoirs, may be vulnerable to extreme events and may attract developers because of a perceived lack of economic value.  There are four “mays” in the last sentence because each of these disservices needs to be critically evaluated before we can decide whether the socioeconomic and environmental benefits of Mediterranean densification outweigh the costs.  All climate change models agree that the Mediterranean will become much hotter and drier over the coming century, so these issues must be evaluated in the context of climate change.

Please contact the lead supervisor directly for further information relating to what the successful applicant will be expected to do, training to be provided, and any specific educational background requirements.