Deliverable 12. Analysis of the vulnerability of the mid-mountain to the impacts of climate change

This deliverable of analysis of the vulnerability of the mid-mountain to the impacts of climate change has been elaborated from a first phase of compilation and analysis of bibliography on the impacts and risks of climate change in the mid-mountain, and a second phase of participation of the stakeholders that compose the regional committees of the three study areas (Aragon, Catalonia and La Rioja) in the annual meetings that were held in the first quarter of 2022.
The first part of the document describes and analyses the evolution of temperature and precipitation based on historical databases collected in recent decades, as well as future projections of these parameters on a global, European and regional scale (the three areas of study in the project).
Then, the observed and potential risks produced by climate change in different sectors and systems are analysed. The risks to the impacts of climate change have been classified according to the following categories:

  • Land use changes.
  • Hydrological cycle and water resources.
  • Natural risks.
  • Natural systems.
  • Economic sectors.
  • Social impacts and demography.

Finally, a prioritization of the risks is established, based on the contributions collected in the meetings with the regional committees.
The abandonment of croplands and pastures was identified as one of the most worrying risks in the mid-mountain. This risk has direct implications on some of the risks identified within the other categories, such as the hydrological cycle, natural systems or social impacts and demography. Other of the most important risks identified in the three regions were the reduction of water availability, the increase in forest fires (which in the case of La Rioja was identified as a potential future risk if land management is not maintained), the changes in some pathologies (diseases and plagues) and the lack of management and maintenance of the territory. This last risk is directly related to the process of depopulation of rural areas that has been observed throughout the entire mid-mountain.