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Project Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use (MEDALUS)

The MEDALUS project was an international research project with the general aim to investigate the relationship between desertification and land use in Mediterranean Europe. The specific objectives of the project were: i) to investigate, using detailed field work and mathematical modelling, the physical processes in the soil and plants that determine how the environment will react to climatic and man-induced desertification over Mediterranean Europe; ii) To examine the likelihood of a worsening situation in the near future as a result of both climatic and socio-economic changes; iii) To evaluate the impact such a worsening of conditions could have on physical conditions and society in the Mediterranean; iv) To suggest mechanisms and policies for the amelioration of these effects in the light of the Community agricultural policy.

Other key words: Soil losses, environmental policies

Area(s) and focus(es) of the project
  • Desertification (projects)
    • Data collection, analysis, monitoring
    • Sustainable agriculture practices
Project scale sub-regional
Tools Meteorological data monitoring;
climate change data series;
study of environmental, economic and demographic processes;
modelling climatic data (MEDALUS model),
prediction of the effects of agricultural and climatic change on water infiltration (application of the Système Hydrologique Europèen (SHE model),
modelling the effects of linked demographic, economic and environmental systems;
remote sensing techniques to detect degradation processes and vegetation cover types;
identification of desertification response units as a result of field, model and remote sensing data integration; future scenarios foreseeing.
Locations Italy: Sardegna (Rio S.Lucia, Capoterra; Sassari); Portugal: Almocreva and Vale Formoso (Alentejo); Spain: Rambla Honda (Almeria), El Ardal (Murcia); France: Reart and Cantarrene (Roussillon), Peisonnel (Var); Greece: Petralona (Thessaloniki), Spata (Athens, Greece).
Timeframe January 1993 - December 1995 (1991-1999 for the three phases of the project)
Implementing organisation(s) Coordinated by King’s College, UK
Other Partner Organisations:
University of Leeds, UK
Cranfield Institute of Technology, UK
Centro Studi Informatica in Agricoltura, Italy
University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
University of the Aegean, Lesvos, Greece
Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven, Belgium
Universitat de Valencia, Spain
Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, BRGM, France
Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia e Geofisica, Portugal
Universidad de Murcia, Spain
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain
Agricultural University of Athens, Greece
Aristotelian University, Greece
Università di Cagliari, Italy
University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Contact Jane Brandt
King's College,
e-mail: Jane@
Donor(s) Commission of the European Communities, Directorate-General XII
Contributor Davide Bellavite
Page last updated: 26/06/2008