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Consequences for the mitigation of desertification of EU policies affecting forestry activity: a combined socio - economic and phisical environmental approach



Forestry and forest management are central to desertification mitigation in many Mediterranean regions. This proposal focuses on the hydrological and soil degradational consequences of various EU Policies and Funds (including the 1992 CAP reforms relating to afforestation of agricultural land) which impact on forestry activity.
Policy implications for soil erosion caused by land-use and management changes in the Mediterranean have been largely unaddressed. Recognising that land degradation is a function of socio-economic influences as well as physical ones, this project seeks to develop, apply and test a methodology that combines these two attributes in a novel, integrative approach of wide applicability aimed at finding feasible ways of avoiding deleterious consequences of current or expected future management practices and recommending EU forestry policy modifications where applicable.

For 14 desertification-prone areas varying in rainfall and management practices in Spain, Portugal and Italy, the likely land use change scenarios arising from the policy changes will be identified particularly through structured interviews with `key actors' and questionnaires. Then the soil erosion implications of alternative conservational changes will be assessed. Although soil and vegetation disturbance by human impact makes all soils more susceptible to soil loss, the degree of this loss is strongly dependent on a soil's erodibility and susceptibility to overland flow generation.
The project adopts the innovative approach of carrying out at grid nodes
(1) multi-date measurements of near-surface soil moisture to assess threshold oisture conditions for overland flow generation, and
(2) soil aggregate stability assessments, as well as other soil hydraulic and erodibility properties and observations of site characteristics.
Linkages between land management scenarios, rapid runoff generation and high soil erodibility for different topographical situations will be highlighted.
For maps generated by GIS of a range of likely land use changes corresponding maps of land degradation patterns will be produced.
Assessment of likely land use scenarios and mitigation strategies. These will form the basis of consultation with 'key actors' and decision makers and of recommendations for policy modifications. The methodologies developed are designed to be transferable and therefore capable of wide applicability throughout the Mediterranean .

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Campus de Santiago
3810-193 AVEIRO/EIXO

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Participants (7)