Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Monitoring desertification in the Mediterranean Basin

The European Commission, DG XII, has published an invitation to tender for the completion of a study on the definition and practical demonstration of a pre-operational system for the monitoring of desertification in the Mediterranean Basin, based on remote-sensing methods.

The main task is to set up and demonstrate an integrated concept, involving the use of data from remote-sensing satellites, for the operational monitoring of desertification and the identification of land-surface characteristics related to these processes at a regional scale in the whole Mediterranean Basin (north and south). This task should be based on the use of observational data from remote-sensing satellites and demonstrate the concept in relation to six representative sites within the Mediterranean basin.

In particular, the study must:

- Develop a concept for a pre-operational system capable of monitoring the extent and dynamics of processes which contribute to land degradation and desertification, and of identifying changes in land use and land-cover characteristics on a regional scale;
- Identify key parameters (derived from satellite observations) that are suitable for monitoring desertification processes in the Mediterranean Basin over the past 15-20 years;
- Produce regional maps of land degradation/desertification and their future risk based on an integrated approach which should also use other data sources in addition to the remote-sensing data (ground survey history, thematic data layers, etc.).

The evaluation of the development of land degradation and desertification over the past 15-20 years implies the characterization of the reference sites in terms of their degradational state, indications of future trends and the risk of desertification. It thus necessitates the definition of a standardized processing chain for the production of regional maps which demonstrate the changes in vegetation cover and soil resources/characteristics.
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