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Mediterranean desertification and land use Project 1: core project

Objective

To consolidate fundamental areas of research, in field investigations and modelling that are necessary for quantifying and understanding desertification processes at selected sites
across southern Europe.

A programme of field measurements and process investigations will be carried out at field
stations in Almeria (Spain), Spata (Greece) and Sardinia (Italy), to establish long term trends in
desertification, investigate key processes of desertification and soil erosion and contribute
towards establishing a European and International data and information base. In Spain additional
measurements will be made i) to assess the response of the vegetation, runoff and sediment yield
to climate variability; ii) to model the influence of the spatial dynamics of patchy vegetation on
runoff and sediment and iii) maintain and update
the Rambla Honda field site at the patch and hillslope scale. In Sardinia data on climate, surface
runoff, sediment yield, vegetation and soil moisture in experimental plots with different land use
conditions will be measured. In Greece data will be collected to establish relations between soil
erosion and loss in plant productivity of rain-fed cereals and to quantifying the effect of land
abandonment.
In Spain, specific studies are being undertaken of: the adaption of natural vegetation under stress
and environmental change; of soil faunal activity; soil moisture vegetation relations under stress;
the influence of plant roots on infiltration; and the management of stony soils. In Sardinia, land
degradation description indicators and grazing impacts are being studied.
Modelling activities, associated with the MEDRUSH land degradation model and its application
in the target areas are being developed, expanded and consolidated. This covers
ecological, land degradation and large basin and landslide modelling. For the ecological
modelling a tree model, a model which allows competition between life forms, a generic fire
model and a grazing model for inclusion in the vegetation model will be developed. The land
degradation modelling will cover the validation of the MEDRUSH model for the Agri and other
target areas; the development of a grazing component, the integration of socio-economic models with MEDRUSH and the development of sub-MEDRUSH model for
areas of 100 km2. The large basin modelling consist of an implementation of MEDRUSH in the
Agri and Guadalentin basins and the identification and use of a database to validate the SHETRAN landslide component.
The MEDRUSH model, produced during Medalus II is being developed and applied as a
management tool in the target areas of the Guadalentin (Spain), Agri (Italy) and Gerje (Hungary)
rivers. The Agri modelling involves scaling and spatial variability analyses of water transport
processes, model sensitivity analysis and relevant parameter definition; model validation and
testing; comparison of model results from other target areas and evaluation of model performance and output reliability.
In the Judean desert (Israel) and in Canada, international partners are undertaking research, that
is integrated into the Medalus programme, under conditions that are more extreme than
in Europe.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Universiteit van Amsterdam
Address
130,Nieuwe Prinsengracht
1018 VZ Amsterdam
Netherlands

Participants (11)

Bar-Ilan University
Israel
Address

52900 Ramat Gan
Cranfield University
United Kingdom
Address
Silsoe Campus Wharley End
MK45 4DT Cranfield
INSTITUTE OF GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH - HUNGARIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Hungary
Address
62,Budaorsi Ut 45
1112 Budapest
UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS
United Kingdom
Address
Clarendon Way
LS2 9JT Leeds
UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
United Kingdom
Address
Cassie Building, Claremont Road
NE1 7RU Newcastle Upon Tyne
UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
United Kingdom
Address
Western Bank
S10 2TN Sheffield
University of Liverpool
United Kingdom
Address
Crown Street
L69 3BX Li Liverpool
University of Toronto
Canada
Address
1265,Military Trial 1265
M1C 1A4 Scarborough
Università degli Studi di Cagliari
Italy
Address
Via Trentino 51
09100 Cagliari
Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Italy
Address
Via Università 100
80055 Portici Napoli
Università degli Studi di Sassari
Italy
Address
Via Enrico De Nicola
07100 Sassari