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DESIRE focused its research on 17 study sites, all in semi-arid environments but distributed across the world from Chile to China. Land use on the sites includes arable crops (both irrigated and dry), forestry or tree crops and grazing land. The range of degradation problems experienced includes erosion (caused by wind and water), salinisation, vegetation degradation and wild fire.

 

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Overview of desertification issues at each study site
»Guadalentín, Spain Drought, soil erosion by water.
»Mação & »Góis, Portugal Forest fires, vegetation degradation, soil erosion.
»Rendina, Italy Soil erosion by water, dam siltation.
»Crete, Greece Soil erosion by water, overgrazing.
»Nestos River Delta, Greece Salinisation, irrigation problems.

»Karapinar, Turkey

Soil erosion by wind, drought, grazing problems.

»Eskişehir, Turkey

Soil erosion by water.

»Sehoul, Morocco

Soil erosion by water, gullying, drought.

»Zeuss Koutine, Tunisia

Drought, competition for scarce water resources, rangeland degradation.
»Dzhanibek, Russia Water logging caused by over irrigation, salinization in depressions.
»Novy, Russia Water logging and leaching of chemicals, caused by over irrigation, erosion caused by flow irrigation.
»Yan River Delta, China Soil erosion by water.
»Boteti, Botswana Fuelwood depletion causing environmental degradation.
»Cointzio, Mexico Soil erosion by water, dam siltation.
»Secano Interior, Chile Fertility and mono culture leqading to environmental degradation, soil erosion by water, gullying.
»Ribeira Seca, Cape Verde Soil erosion, drought, flash floods, dam siltation.

 

The majority of sites have a problem with soil rosion by water and drought. While erosion is a more long term problem, associated by the stakeholders with a slow loss of fertile soil leading to a decline in yield and yield quality, drought is a much more acute problem. It is often experienced and leads to harvest failure or decrease in grazing capavaity. Technical solutions such as irrigation systems do not always work or are applied wrongly (Nestos River Basin, Russia), causing water logging, salinization and even erosion by excessive surface irrigation leading to runoff.

 

In their field experiments, most sites with erosion concentrated on interfering with runoff (countour tillage), making flow barriers or terrace like structures (Turkey, Cape Verde, China), or protecting the surface with mulch (Spain, Crete, Morroco). Most sites with drought problems concentrated on water harvesting techniques, sometimes using or reviving traditional methods (Spain, Tunisia). Others tried new solutions such as collection of snow melt (Russia), minimum tillage (Morocco, Chile), collection ditches (Chile, China). Agronomic measures such as intercropping and alternative crop types were tested in Spain, Chile, Cape Verde and to some extent in Mexico.

 
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Acknowledgement

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The DESIRE project was 
co-funded by the
European Commission,
Global Change and
Ecosystem.
Contract no: 037046 GOCE

DESIRE brought together the expertise of
26 international research institutes
and non-governmental organisations.

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