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Desertification in the Mediterranean drylands - development of a monitoring system based on plant ecophysiology

Objective

The main objective of the project is the control of the desertification processes in some edge ecosystems of Turkey and Lebanon (overgrazed pastures, overcultivated or abandoned lands, coastal vegetation, etc.) by means of environmental monitoring based on the following :
* To record and analyse the ecophysiological indices of typical vegetation (leaf water potential, xylem cavitation, CO2 absorption and photosynthetic efficiency, transpiration rate and water balance, etc.) in the Mediterranean drylands, by means of advanced field techniques.
* To develop numerical models with advanced methods (landscape-oriented models, GIS, remote-sensing) for assessing the dynamic evolution of these parameters, producing synthetic indicized informations on the state of the environment related to drought stress.
* To define control systems of the degradation of the Mediterranean drylands vegetation types, detecting the major vulnerability areas to help in making decisions for land management plans.
Expected Outcome

The most important results should outcome into the definition of new methodologies for land monitoring and evaluation, the production of information devices (data sets, indices, functions and models, software, thematic maps) to detect in reliable time the evolution and the entity of the desertification processes in the Mediterranean drylands, and a consistent transfer of acquired knowledge and technology to the countries most affected by desertification, carrying out parallel activities to disseminate the results (workshops, lectures, training courses, papers, etc.)
The following action guidelines will be performed :
* evaluation of the areas, selection of the sample sites; floristic and vegetation analysis, climatic and soil characterization of the selected areas; detection of vegetation types for standard plots, individuating the most significant species;
* systematic sampling of the ecophysiological parameters by field techniques, according seasonal and daily cycles; analysis of the parameters and functions per standard plot, as leaf water potential, xylem cavitation, photosynthetic efficiency of light and water, CO2 absorption rate, production efficiency, evapotranspiration, etc.;
* analysis of correlations with the environmental variables, development of response functions, definition of models and environmental risk indices; integration of models-indices with GIS, correlation of the indices with remote-sensing analysis, production of dynamic land maps, synthetic evaluation of the models, simulations of land scenarios, definition of possible land management planning guidelines.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITÀ DEGLI STUDI DI TRIESTE
Address
Via Giorgieri 10
34100 Trieste
Italy

Participants (4)

Lebanese University
Lebanon
Address

8281 Beirut
Logical Nature
Italy
Address
Via C. Colombo 31
30175 Mestre Venezia
MEDITERRANEAN AGRONOMIC INSTITUTE OF CHANIA
Greece
Address

73100 Hania - Crete
University of Ege
Turkey
Address

35100 Bornova