Home 5. Regional strategies

Regional scale remediation solutions

Research theme coordinators: University of Leeds (UK)


Modelling where soil and water conservation technologies are effective and viable

When local stakeholders have selected promising soil and water conservation technologies for their area, and these technologies have been tested in field experiments, it may still be difficult to formulate recommendations for their use. For example:


  • The experimental conditions for which selected technologies were tested are limited and do not reflect the variable conditions within a region. Rains may have been plentiful so that water conservation did not boost yields, or a terracing experiment was set up on a slight slope so that it remains uncertain how terraces would perform on steeper slopes;
  • The time it takes for technologies to develop full effectiveness and benefits is longer than technologies can be tested during a five year research project. Build up of soil organic matter after changing tillage methods or crop rotations is a slow process, and long-term yield increases will not have been observed;
  • Policymakers and extension services would like to know whether a technology performs across a range of conditions before committing to stimulating adoption. Apart from differences in environmental conditions and the time it takes to develop full benefits, the investment costs and access to markets are important factors influencing the viability of a technology.


Modelling offers an alternative and complementary approach to evaluate the likely biophysical effects of adopting different remediation strategies at a regional scale and their financial viability. In DESIRE the process was taken a step further by presenting the model outputs and field trial results to stakeholders for their evaluation in a series of workshops across the study sites. 


More details ...
This research theme was developed in four stages.

»Framework for knowledge management Resulting from the modelling, experimental and stakeholder work in DESIRE, a hybrid methodological framework for effective sustainable land management has beeen developed and is presented as one of the project's key messages at a global level.

»Model descriptions The biophysical impact of technologies is simulated with an extended version of the PESERA model. The DESMICE (Desertification Mitigation Cost Effectiveness) model is newly developed within the DESIRE project to scale up the financial assessment of mitigation strategies from field to regional scale using a spatially-explicit cost-benefit analysis.

»Model applications A combination of models (PESERA and DESMICE) were used by DESIRE to identify the likely environmental effects of proposed remediation strategies and what strategies should be implemented where to achieve cost-effective desertification mitigation.
»Remediation recommendations Towards the end of DESIRE a series of final workshop was conducted in each study site to enable stakeholders to review evidence from field trials and models, and use this information to prioritise remediation strategies for regional dissemination.





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

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