Research objectives and content
that can contribute to a deeper understanding of desertification processes. It is to apply the knowledge obtained to develop modelling tools as instruments for projecting the impact of different scenarios in specific target areas of the MEDALUS Project. Specifically the objectives are:
a) to undertake a core programme of field measurements and process investigations at the field stations in Almeria (Spain), Spata (Greece) and Sardinia (Italy), in order 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 that can be applied to the management of semi-arid regions threatened by desertification.
b) To develop, expand and consolidate the modelling activities associated with the MEDRUSH land degradation model and its application in the target areas.
c) To complete the development of the MEDRUSH Model begun in MEDALUS II and to apply and develop this as a management tool in the Guadalentin, the Pescara and the Agri basins. The project consists of three modules: The first (The Core Field Studies Programme) will develop three field sites according to international standards, where basic data will be collected to develop indicators and monitor long term trends. Research will be done into processes of land degradation and recovery and at international sites. The basic field programme covers the collection of data needed to develop indicators for the long term monitoring of trends. This will be archived with the other project data and models and distributed on a CD-ROM. The research on land degradation and recovery includes studies of the role of soil fauna, stones, drought stress, grazing and root characteristics. Research at the international level will undertake integrated studies integrate into MEDALUS firstly in Israel and Mexico (this consists of laboratory research in Toronto and a field study site in the San Fernando Basin, Canada) and later at other sites. The second component (Consolidation of Modelling) will develop and extend modelling in areas of arid lands, ecology and genetic variability, land degradation and hydrology and work on the integration of these in the MEDALUS desertification models. Finally, the third module will rigourously test the MEDRUSH model, developed under MEDALUS II, in pilot areas in the Agri, Pescara and Guadalentin catchments. The results will be compared with other models and runs made for wet and dry years. Mainly Module 2, but also Module 1 will have a research and development task for Module 3. The MEDRUSH model will be developed as a scientific and management tool. The project has been designed so that it could contribute to international research through the GCTE and ENRICH office programmes and it will support the Convention on Desertification. The project will provide a data and information base about desertification at international reference sites that will be used to develop the modelling tools and indicators that are required to a identify environmentally sensitive zones,
b) develop methods for combating desertification and
c) monitor and compare the progress of desertification as part of a long-term monitoring effort. The field studies and models will contribute to international programmes. The MEDRUSH model application will provide land use and climatic scenario impacts for the key target areas. The data base and information system produced from the MEDALUS I and II projects is unique in its kind and it has an enormous potential to be developed for training.