Study site location & description Print

The Mação study site is located in central Portugal, to the south east of Coimbra and centred on the town of Mação.


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Mação is one of the four UNCCD Pilot Areas in Portugal. It lies in a transition zone between the semi-arid and sub-humid regions of Portugal. It has undergone severe drought periods that have completely changed the character of the region during the past decade. Drought impacts have been compounded by catastrophic wildfires that destroyed most of the municipality's forested area. Some areas burned twice in as little as 5 years during the last decade, leading to severe soil and vegetation degradation. In addition, the local economy is weak, caused primarily by this being one of the Portuguese municipalities with the highest percentage of old people.

Global climate change processes are leading to degradation of the soils, reduction of water supply and widespread poverty, which have all resulted in the outmigration of young people and consequent ageing of the remaining population. Several national and European development projects are currently being, or have been, implemented in an attempt to reverse the environmental and socio-economic degradation processes. DESIRE provides a framework that allows deeper insight into the degradation processes and an assessment of the efficiency of these measures aimed at reversing the degradation processes.


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