INDEX Indicators and thresholds for desertification, soil quality, and remediation
Time span: January 2004 - December 2006
Aim: The mechanisms of land degradation are well known and have been the object of many EU studies. The prime goal of INDEX is to apply this knowledge to develop modern, rapid, sensitive, universal, multivariate indicators with which the dynamic state of land degradation as well as its remediation can be assessed.
Description: Changes will often be slow and subtle. An early warning system is needed to indicate the need for countermeasures, while they are still economical. INDEX will rely on previously supported Commission projects and will disseminate its results to subsequent projects. The indicators of desertification mechanisms will be developed on fields in various stages of degradation and remediation and verified on a pan European basis on sites selected with stakeholders. They will be based on: microbiology including molecular biology and genetic diversity; characteristics of the dynamic humus pool and humo-enzymes; and soil physics including rheology. Results will be extrapolated to thresholds to indicate when remediation is economically unfeasible.
Countries: Field sites in Germany, Hungary, Spain and Italy; partners in Germany, Spain, Austria, Hungary, UK and Italy.
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