What is the Mediterranean climate?
It is characterized by dry summers and mild winters with alternating heavy rain, which may come over short periods, and periods of extreme drought. Some areas may receive more than 50% of their annual precipitation in just a few days. Periods of drought (added to a dry summer) occur throughout the year and in some periods, the humidity may be less than 20%. This causes harsh living conditions for all vegetation, forcing them to adapt (acclimatize) to survive.
This climate is found in the territories bordering the Mediterranean but also in other parts of the world such as areas in California, Chile, Australia and South Africa (see map above).
What do we mean when we speak of Mediterranean vegetation?
Few people know but the fauna is much richer in the Mediterranean climate regions than in the temperate climates. Botanists have estimated that nearly 75,000 plant species grow in this climate.
In terms of biodiversity, particularly in France, over 60% of the plant species are concentrated in the Mediterranean. For comparison, the non-Mediterranean Europe sees no more than 6,000 species, while the South of France alone (Hérault among others), account for more than 2,000 species.
Why these areas?
The Mediterranean climate zones are located in specific geological areas. The movements of the tectonic plates have created steep areas by the sea as well as in the mountains. In the studied areas we find that a combination of geological and geographical elements have resulted in a Mediterranean climate.
Following a succession of alternating glacial periods and climatic warming, the areas shown became natural "shelters" for plant species near the ocean or in the rocky areas inland. Various factors has allowed the plant's in these areas to develop resistance, while being relatively "sheltered".
To find more about plant forms click here.
Why should we preserve?
Reproductive strategies for these plant species are more complex than those necessary for species growing in plains. The concept of time is defined here on a global scale. The genetic heritage, the DNA mutates slowly. This natural mutation is the result of adapting to the environmental conditions. If species found themselves caught in these fragmented areas they had to adapt their behavior to survive, sometimes they even mutated to create a new family of plants. They have developed specifications so rare that their genetic heritage is not varied enough to withstand sudden changes (like the human impact). The mutation allowed them to survive in these areas but it also weakened them. Hence the awareness of the scientific community of the need to protect this biodiversity by specifying the world's biodiversity hotspots. In order to read more about survival strategies click here.
What will we find in the Botanical Park?
The location of the park and the surrounding area provides a favorable setting to give an innovative project on such a scale, a good chance of success.
We have been all over the world to discover the typical atmospheres which are representative of the climate zones that form the basis for the landscaping and will try to imitate the natural conditions we have seen. Nothing has been left to chance. The spheres have the same names as the parks to which they refer, so the visitors can discover the resemblance between the botanical park Château Pérouse and what is possible to see in the parks around the world.