Figure 7.3 A bar chart of a cluster of socio-economic information for a selection of Mediterrean basin countries and the other four MTE regions, showing: population density per km'; the Gross National Product in hundreds of US$ per capita; the annual birth rate per 10 000 of the population (Europa World Yearbook 1994). 'The GNP and birthrate for California are taken to be reflected by those of the USA as a whole such investment was not made for basic science in the poorer countries of the Mediterranean basin.

MTEs therefore constitute an interesting and global set of systems, in some ways convergent, and in others divergent. This is a favorable situation for many lines of comparative exploration into how ecological diversity is impacted by human activities, and how its productivity supports human populations even in a technological age.


In this section we offer some examples of diversity and function in MTEs, and place them in the context of the model by Noss (1990), who proposed that diversity has three components, the compositional, the structural and the functional, each covering a range of scale from the molecular to the landscape. We do this by considering the different components and scales of diversity in the five Mediterranean-climate regions, and where possible highlight the traceable links to system function. System properties which are emergent, such as resilience, stability and sustainable exploitability, are inferred from these observed patterns and relationships. Most of the examples used below can be found in Davis and Richardson (1995).

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