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Mediterranean habitat loss under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 climate change projections - Assessing impacts on the Natura 2000 protected area network

This report describes the main findings of Task 10, Mediterranean habitat loss, of the PESETA III project (Climate Impacts and Adaptation in Europe, focusing on Extremes, Adaptation and the 2030s). Using an approach that integrates results from 11 sectors, the main objective of the PESETA III project is to make a consistent multi-sectorial assessment of the projected impacts of climate change in Europe The Mediterranean region is one of the 36 global hotspots of biological diversity [1] and the most rich biodiversity region in Europe. Almost half of the plants and animals and more than half of the habitats listed in the EU Habitats Directive [2] occur in the Mediterranean region. However, this reservoir of biodiversity is threatened by climate-driven habitat loss, which is one of the most serious concerns for this region [3]. The aim of this study is first to assess projected changes in the spatial range of the Mediterranean climate domain (MCD) in Europe and its conversion into arid domain (ACD) under scenarios of climate change, and second to assess Natura 2000 sites that will be affected by these changes. We used 11 bias-adjusted Regional Climate Model (RCM) simulations for two representative concentration pathways’ scenarios at +4.5 W/m2 (RCP4.5) and +8.5 W/m2 (RCP8.5) for three periods: 2030s, 2° C warming and 2080s. Furthermore, we analysed adaptation options and its estimated economic cost in Mediterranean Natura 2000 protected areas.