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A Multi-Scale Earth Observation Indicator System for Land Degradation Assessment of Transitional Mediterranean Climates

Project description

Managing field and technical evidence to fight desertification

Assessing environmental damage arising from climate change depends on several overlapping factors of varying scale. The evidence of geological field studies and that of Earth Observation sensors is vital to understanding how ecosystems cope with changes and loss of vegetation, but their combination is complex. PantEOn is working on a multi-scale framework that will link vegetation patterns with water resources and sediment formation, with a view to managing desertification. The project will work within the UN’s proposal on Land Degradation Neutrality and will focus on Mediterranean ecosystems.


Combating the effects of climate change (CC) is one of the top priorities of EU policy. In order for CC mitigation & adaptation measures to be successful, they must be based on sufficient knowledge about ecosystems & how they respond to change, which is complex & not linear. The identification of spatio-temporal patterns & their relationship with the underlying ecosystem processes is one of the ongoing scientific challenges in which scale-dependency constitutes one of the principal pitfalls. Passive or active Earth Observation (EO) sensors offer a vital toolset to address this issue, by providing long archives at a variety of spectral & spatial resolutions, from the global (e.g. AVHRR), & the regional (e.g. Landsat) to the local, very high-resolutions (e.g. WorldView, Orthophotos, drones).

The objective of PantEOn is to obtain empirical evidence about the long-term evolution & regime-shifts due to Climate Change of the functional & structural properties of Mediterranean ecosystems. This evidence is crucial for the identification of ecosystem resilience thresholds & the development of land degradation indicators. A multi-scale methodological framework will be developed in order to bridge the existing eco-hydro-geomorphological process-based knowledge of the Fellow, gained from 16 years of field experimentation & monitoring, with the advanced EO experience of the Hosts, to investigate & identify the spatio-temporal pattern/process relationships. The key for the proposed approach is to relate spatio-temporal patterns of vegetation with connectivity of soil surface components with respect to overland flow of water & sediments. The concluding objective of PantEOn is to provide an advancement in the design of operational indicators for the assessment & monitoring of land degradation, within the Land Degradation Neutrality framework suggested by the UN, in order to achieve the target of the Sustainable Development Goals to combat desertification by the 2030.


Net EU contribution
€ 319 400,64
M15 6BH Manchester
United Kingdom

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North West (England) Greater Manchester Manchester
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 319 400,64