DESIRE: Desertification Mitigation & Remediation of Land (EU Framework 6)
Project Title: Desertification Mitigation & Remediation of Land (DESIRE): a global approach for local solutions
Role: Workblock Leader
Funding Body: EU Framework 6 Integrated Project
Amount: 9 million Euros (300K in Leeds)
Collaborators: Alterra (Netherlands); Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium); University of Leeds (United Kingdom); University of Wales Swansea (United Kingdom); Centre for Development and Environment; University Bern (Switzerland); Estacion Experimental de Zonas Aridas (Spain); University of Aveiro (Portugal); CNR Research Institute for Hydrogeological Protection (Italy); Agricultural University of Athens (Greece); Eskisehir Osmangazi University (Turkey); University of Mohamed V, Chair UNESCO-GN (Morocco); Institut des Regions Arides (Tunisia); Institut for Soil and Water Conservation (China); Wageningen University (Netherlands); Democritus University of Thrace (Greece); BothEnds (Netherlands); ISRIC (Netherlands); Escola Superior Agrária de Coimbra (Portugal); CARI (France); University of Botswana (Botswana); ITC (Netherlands); IRD (France); Cornell University (USA); Deakin University (Australia); MEDES (Italy); MSUEE (Russia).
Fragile arid and semi-arid ecosystems are in urgent need of integrated conservation approaches that can contribute significantly to prevent and reduce the widespread on-going land degradation and desertification processes, such as erosion, flooding, overgrazing, drought, and salinization. The DESIRE project will establish promising alternative land use and management conservation strategies based on a close participation of scientists with stakeholder groups in the degradation and desertification hotspots around the world. This integrative participatory approach ensures both the acceptability and feasibility of conservation techniques, and a sound scientific basis for the effectiveness at various scales. DESIRE employs a bottom up approach such as is favoured by the UNCCD: i) degradation and desertification hotspots and stakeholder groups will be identified in all countries surrounding the Mediterranean, and in 6 external nations facing similar environmental problems, ii) desertification indicator sets will be defined in a participatory approach and a harmonized information system will be constructed to organize socio-economic and geoinformation data and tools for active dissemination; iii) new and existing conservation strategies will be defined with the stakeholder communities; iv) these strategies will be implemented in the field, and monitored and modeled to quantify their effectiveness at various scales; v) the results will be extrapolated using indicator sets, geoinformation data, and integrated modeling systems combining socio-economic and environmental aspects; vi) finally the results will be translated to a series of practical guidelines for good agricultural practices and environmental management, which will be disseminated to practitioners, agricultural extensionists, governmental authorities, policy makers, NGOs, land users, land owners, and local communities.