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Effects of land use and land management practices changes on land degradation under forest and grazing ecosystems

Objective

The main aims of this project are defined as follows :
* To investigate the changes in land degradation with increasing forest and grazing activities in the western Mediterranean region (North Africa - Morocco and Tunisia - and the Iberian peninsula).
* To assess the current and likely future land-use and land management practices that contemporary socio-economic trends, national / regional policies, the 2010 free trade zone and the EU CAP Aid Scheme for Forestry may induce in areas that are vulnerable to land degradation and desertification.
* A holistic research approach combining both natural environmental and societal and socio-economic dimensions will be adopted in order to improve the basis of policies supporting sustainable development.
* To determine models, both conceptual and semi-quantitative, that describe the relationship between hydrology, vegetation, land use and socio-economic constraints.
* To contribute to the definition of criteria for evaluation and mitigation of land degradation and desertification.
* To transfer the results of this project in to action-guiding instruments adapted to landusers and managers in the western Mediterranean region.
Expected Outcome

* To contribute towards sustainable development in rural areas affected by drought and over-exploitation of natural resources, by integrating the views of local population views as an efficient part of land and water conservation strategies.
* Building scenarios for feasible alternative land-uses / land management practices, under different socio-economic conditions, with the help of GIS techniques.
* Establish thresholds for sustainability and degradation limits for the present status, and for mitigation measures proposed by the various groups acting in the field (land users, government officials, researchers, etc.).
* To prepare a handbook on techniques and methodology on the physical and socio-economic aspects developed in the project, that could be used elsewhere in the Mediterranean or in other areas.
The key activities involve :
* Studies of policies affecting forest and grazing systems. This will be conducted simultaneously at the field level and at regional and international scales. It will emphasise the comparison between objectives and real effects of policies on land degradation and desertification.
* Field studies based on : (i) structured interviews and a questionnaire survey of landusers and key actors on their views of current / future land-use and land management practice trends and problems and their responses to national initiatives and policy. To investigate their reactions to policy alternatives and conservation measures and techniques; (ii) gathering environmental data on hydrological, erosion, soil property and vegetation characteristics of the land-use / land management practice types within each of the study areas.
* Development of models for the different land use / land management practices using data (socio-economic and physical) gathered in demonstration areas. Different evolution scenarios will be defined from this modelling.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF AVEIRO
Address
Campus De Santiago
3810-193 Aveiro/eixo
Portugal

Participants (4)

Institut National d'Agronomie de Tunisie
Tunisia
Address
43,Avenue Charles Nicolle
1082 Tunis Mahrajene
UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA
Spain
Address
Baldiri Reixac S/n
08028 Barcelona
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Spain
Address

28040 Madrid
Université Mohammed V
Morocco
Address

10100 Rabat