The focus of RECONDES is to address the mitigation of desertification processes by the means of innovative techniques using vegetation in specific landscape configurations prone to severe degradation processes.
Its major objective is to produce practical guidelines on the conditions for use of vegetation in areas vulnerable to desertification, taking into account spatial variability in geomorphological and human-driven processes related to degradation and desertification.
RECONDES will combine the understanding of the mechanisms of land degradation and of the critical soil conditions necessary for maintaining and restoring soil and land quality and ecosystem health to identify how and where vegetation could be used to mitigate desertification.
It will identify the conditions or thresholds which have to be attained or retained for vegetation growth and survival and examine where those conditions are found. It will match those conditions against the processes of degradation to identify where treatments or restoration will be most effective. It will identify innovative measures which might be taken to create or maintain conditions. Crucially, it will examine linkages within the landscape at different scales to determine the key points for intervention.
The effects of vegetation treatments will be modelled and optimal strategies produced at scales from plot to catchment. The practical guidelines produced will be disseminated to end users.
RECONDES is being applied in relation to the marginal lands of the north Mediterranean, the areas of southern Europe which are vulnerable to or have suffered desertification. The research is divided into six major work packages based on a hierarchy of land /use units found in these areas:
- Reforested land
- Rainfed cropland
- and abandoned land
- River valleys