The overall goal of Project 3 is to develop a set of regional indicators which provide a planning tool for application to desertification at regional, national and European scales. This will be achieved through a set of four closely linked modules which are integrated into the overall structure of the MEDALUS III project.
In Project 3, the target areas identified within MEDALUS are used to identify Environmentally
Sensitive Areas (ESAs) through regional indicators, and develop a broad scale methodology,
relying principally on Remote Sensing but also making use of other regional data as and where
available, to identify and prioritise degradation risks on a pan-European scale. There are strong
cross-links with other MEDALUS projects, particularly in defining target areas (Project 1) and
ESAs (Project 2).
The first module develops the physical scientific basis for the regional indicators proposed. A
one-dimensional model for hydrology, vegetation (cropped and uncropped, including the effects
of grazing) and soil erosion is being developed for interpreting regional data and extending it in
a forecasting framework for the coming decades. Development of existing research on remotely
sensed images will provide data on regional scale changes in vegetation and land use to provide
a relevant time series for model calibration. Comparable regional data on climatic time series
will be provided by from METEOSAT data. These three components provide the core
methodology for implementation of the model as a forecasting tool.
The development of regional economic and social approaches to desertification (module 2) is
much less well advanced in MEDALUS than the physical modelling, and relies crucially on
socio-economic data collected and provided by the Project 2 groups. The core of module 2 lies
in innovative modelling, involving the use of neural networks and other methods, using
supercomputers to annualise the large data sets available and provide dynamic forecasts which
explicitly link the socio-economic impacts to the physical indicators developed in module 1.
Modules 3 and 4 are both concerned with generating climatic scenarios, derived from analysis
and projection from archive data and from GCM forecasts. They provide the climatic basis for
applying the models developed in modules 1 and 2 into forecasts for the next century of
prospective global climate change. Together, therefore, the component modules of Project 3 will
provide an important planning tool. with the capacity to assess the most probable directions of
change, the assumed scenarios on which these forecasts are made, and the uncertainties
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
20090 Segrate Milano
LS2 9JT Leeds