Mediterranean Ecosystems of Turkey: Ecology of the Taurus Mountains
Mediterranean ecosystems are limited to five relatively small areas around the world: the region bordering the Mediterranean Sea; Central Chile; the Cape region of South Africa; Southwestern and Southern Australia; and California south to northern Baja California. These ecosystems largely occur along the western edges of continents between the 30° and 40° parallels in both northern and southern hemispheres. The Mediterranean climate is characterized by mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers (Köppen 1923, Emberger et al. 1962, Gottman 1979, Atalay 1993, 2002, Atalay et al. 1998, Erinç 1969, Koçman 1993, Naveh & Lieberman 1984, Turkes 1996). This special and unique climate has great influence on natural physical processes, including on soil formation, ecological conditions, landform development, and karst topography as well as on human activities (Atalay, 1987b, 1987c, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2006; Atalay and Tetik & Yeşilkaya 1997; Di Castri et al. 1981; Efe, 1998, 2004a, 2004b, 2005; Efe and Greenwood 2007; Kaniewski et al. 2007). Globally, the total area over which Mediterranean climate prevails is only about 2 million square kilometres. About half of this area occurs in the Mediterranean Basin: Although plant species and communities differ between the regions, the dominant vegetation is evergreen woodland with evergreen sclerophyllous shrubs and trees like carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), cork oak (Quercus suber), holm oak (Quercus ilex), mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) and the fodder shrub (Medicago arborea) These species are resistant to summer droughts, have deep rooting systems and resprouting capacity.
Large areas in the Mediterranean countries show impoverished plant cover due to long-term anthropogenic disturbance and harsh environmental conditions. It is widely accepted that vegetation is a major factor in controlling land degradation. The introduction of plants in degraded ecosystems could affect the overall microclimatic and soil conditions. Due to the limited extent and isolation (almost island-like), of each area of Mediterranean biome, there is frequently a high degree of endemism in the flora and fauna (Emberger at al. 1962, Di Castri 1973, Aschmann 1973b, 1973b, Naveh & Lieberman 1984, Thrower & Bradbury 1973, Tyrrel 1982, Walter 1983, Vogl 1982, Smith and Smith 2003, Bailey 1995, Paskoff 1973, Dallman 1998, Atalay 2006b).
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Natural Environment and Culture in the Mediterranean Region
The Mediterranean Basin is located at the intersection of two major landmasses, Eurasia and Africa, which contributes to its cultural and high biodiversity. The greatest impacts have been deforestation, habitat fragmentation, intensive grazing and fires, and infrastructure development, especially on the coast, which have distinctly altered the landscape. In view of the valuable natural heritage there is a great need for weighing our ecological impact in order to achieve a balance between biodiversity conservation and human development and above all, how to maintain traditional rural livelihoods in a way that benefits biodiversity. This book synthesizes knowledge from many disciplines to throw some light on the unpredictability of forthcoming changes.
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