EU invests 8 million euro in research into land degradation and desertification

April 18, 2005

Brussels, 15 Apr 2005

The European Union is investing 8 million euro in a new Integrated Project focused on land degradation and desertification in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America, representing one of the largest commitments ever made to a single research project on the issue.

Despite the fact that desertification and land destruction are seen as global threats, there are still no widely accepted diagnostic methods for use in planning and combating them.

The DeSurvey Integrated Project aims to address this by developing and testing a new system for monitoring and modelling desertification and land destruction in the context of climate change, the relationship between man and the environment, and the vulnerability of particular landscapes to degradation.

As Ulf Helldén, a project member from Lund University in Sweden, explains: 'One of the reasons it has been so difficult to map [...] desertification and land degradation is that it is a politically sensitive issue. It involves the politics of developmental assistance, with powerful players like the World Bank and various UN bodies that have differing angles and interests.'

Professor Helldén was one of the first researchers to demonstrate that desertification is not an irreversible phenomenon. For example, the southward 'march' of the Sahara in previous years was due to exceptionally low precipitation, but in the past two decades the rainfall has returned to normal and the desert has receded.

Within the EU, the region where the issue of desertification is most pressing is in the Mediterranean. 'Especially Spain, Portugal, Greece, and to some extent Italy are experiencing severe problems of land destruction,' explains Professor Helldén. 'There is a shortage of water, and the question is how to use it most economically. The EU also needs a better foundation for determining its agricultural subsidies for these areas.'

Outside Europe, the DeSurvey project will also include work in China, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Senegal and Chile, thanks to the participation of research organisations in each of these countries alongside the ten EU partners. The project is funded under the 'Global change and ecosystems' priority of the Sixth Framework Programme.

For further information on global change and ecosystems, please consult the following web address:
http:/// /

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities
Item source: http:/// cgi-bin/srchidadb?C ALLER=NHP_EN_NEWS&ACTION=D&SESSION=&RCN= EN_RCN_ID:23685 Previous Item Back to Titles Print Item

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments