Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Project summary

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".

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