Apr 28

A Drylands and Desert Restoration Hub


There is great need to restore existing despoiled drylands and to combat increasing desertification. Restoring habitats improves biodiversity, increases carbon sequestration, enhancing the quality of life for people. An essential measure is the planting of and reestablishment of vegetation. The successful establishment of vegetation in arid areas is complex requiring the multi-disciplinary skills of arid land experts with various capabilities, in soils, hydrology, ecology, agronomy, land management etc. However, vegetation restoration techniques in arid areas require review and development. Information on restoration is highly dispersed and often difficult to obtain.

The creation of the ‘Drylands and Desert Restoration Hub’ is thus aimed to bring together the expertise, knowledge and information on vegetation establishment and management that exists in the EU and around the world.  The drylands and desert restoration hub provides a focus for information for all stakeholders.

The Action is devised to provide the science and practical guidance for dryland restoration and combat of desertification through coordinated data-collection with an integrated database within a harmonized information hub of current and new methods and techniques of restoration, trials and field studies, assessment indicators, academic and practical publications, and tools to identify and support practical restoration projects and decision makers in planning and restoring drylands and the combat of desertification. The Action promotes open knowledge, innovation in procedures and methods for improved restoration in dry lands.

The Action; Why and What?

The reasons for setting up a ‘Drylands and Desert Restoration Hub’ are to:

  • Collect,
  • Store,
  • Make Available and Disseminate data and methods, and
  • Instigate  new research regarding the practical methods of revegetating AND MANAGING drylands

Information Exists BUT IT IS:

  • Isolated;
  • Hermetic;
  • Hard to come by;
  • Limited connections between fields;
  • Limited connections between researchers and practitioners;
  • Expertise in Europe with projects around the world but isolated;
  • Europe could lead the field

Desertification and the Combat of Desertification is an EU ISSUE; Mose EU countries have projects running in Africa; Denmark = Burkina Faso, Norway = Eritrea, Ethiopia = Germany = Namibia etc

The action is about practical solutions:

  • the successful establishment of planting;
  • the successful maintenance and management of planting for the long term to meet sustainable objectives for local people, the landscape, ecology and wildlife.

Apr 22

Training School on Indicators of Desertification

The Training School on Indicators of Desertification: Early Warning Signs at the University of Lisbon was a great success – Presentations are available at:





Desertification is an important threat to the sustainability of human wellbeing, and many of the countries most seriously affected by it are also the least developed. Evaluation of the impact of measures taken to control and mitigate desertification is therefore a priority issue. This training school will focus on indicators of desertification, including those recommended by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and other techniques developed as early warning tools.

Early warning indicators allow the prevention of desertification before it becomes irreversible. Ecological indicators can inform us about the health of dryland ecosystems and how close they are to a tipping point. In this training school we will show how ecological indicators based on plant and lichen functional diversity can be used as early warning indicators of desertification. In addition to classroom lectures, there will be practical classes and field trips to desertified areas in order to demonstrate the most important methodologies for assessing desertification indicators.

For more information see Training school in Indicators of Desertification

Jan 20

Desert Restoration Hub Newsletter Issue 2

Issue 2 of the Desert Restoration Hub Newsletter has been distributed to more than 1400 individuals in 80 countries around the world. The Newsletter provides a summary of the activities that have been carried out in the first half of the second year of the Action, including Short-Term Scientific Missions and the second training school. It also includes information about funding opportunities for 2014. The Newsletter can be downloaded here:

Desert Restoration Hub Newsletter Winter 2013

Dec 02

Wanted – new Management Committee members and observers

COST ES1104 is looking to expand the membership of its Management Committee and Management Committee Observers to include experts in arid lands restoration and the combat of desertification from the following countries:

COST member countries as a Management Committee Member: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Near Neighbour countries as a Management Committee Observer: Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Syria, Ukraine.

If you are interested in representing one of these countries on the Management Committee or as a Management Committee Observer, please send a brief letter of motivation to the Action Chair, Dr Benz Kotzen (b.kotzen@gre.ac.uk), outlining your expertise in the topic.

Oct 02

New MC Observers

COST Action ES1104 welcomes four new MC Observers: Professor Elena Maria Abraham from the Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Aridas in Argentina; Dr Ayman Salah from Al-Quds University in the Palestinian Authority; Professor Fatima Zohra Ain-Lhout from Ibn Zohr University in Morocco; and Dr Mohamed Ouessar from the Institut des Regions Arides in Tunisia.

Mar 26

Funding for Short-Term Scientific Missions 2014-2015

As COST Action ES1104 enters its third year of operation in June 2014, funding will be made available for Short-Term Scientific Missions that contribute to the scientific objectives of this COST Action. Missions are aimed at strengthening the Action network by, for example, allowing scientists to go to an institution or laboratory in another COST country to foster collaboration, to learn a new technique, or to take measurements using instruments and/or methods not available in their own institution/laboratory.

The deadlines for applications are:

15 April 2014                                 for STSMs to be initiated between June-August 2014

15 July 2014                                  for STSMs to be initiated between September-November 2014

15 October 2014                          for STSMs to be initiated between December 2014-February 2015

15 April 2015                                 for STSMs to be initiated and completed between March-May 2015

For details on how to apply follow this link: STSMs