Patch-scale to hillslope-scale geodiversity alleviates susceptibility of dryland ecosystems to climate change: insights from the Israeli Negev

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
Stavi I., Yizhaq H., Szitenberg A., Zaady E.

Many studies have assessed the concept of geodiversity. Most studies have focused on large spatial scales, ranging from watersheds to landscapes. Recent studies from the Israeli drylands indicate that shrubs and trees growing in low-geodiversity sites experience mass mortality following long-term droughts, whilst those in high-geodiversity sites demonstrate high durability. Our objective was to review the relevance of small-scale geodiversity to the slow onset effects of climate change defined by the UN-FCCC, including land and forest degradation, biodiversity loss, and desertification. We propose that patch-scale to hillslope-scale geodiversity alleviate these effects. Also, we demonstrate: (1) how geodiversity coincides with the concepts of biodiversity hotspots, ecological niches, and climatic refugia, and (2) how human-restored geodiversity may be beneficial in conservation projects.