Restoration of Arid Lands and Combat of Desertification: From Science to Practice (Conference Video Links)

Final conference Poster copy-2

The final conference of COST Action ES1104 took place at the University of Greenwich, London, on 30 and 31 March 2016. ‘Restoration of Arid Lands and Combat of Desertification: From Science to Practice’ brought together an international line-up speakers from the ‘Drylands and Desert Restoration Hub’ to present review papers on best practice in drylands restoration and the results of recent research, in order to showcase the work which has taken place over the past four years.  High-profile experts from various international bodies and NGOs were invited to take part in the panel discussions.

The full programme can be downloaded here: Restoration of Arid Lands conference programme

Please find below the links to the session recordings:

Day 1
Session 1

Welcome & COST Action ES1104: An overview
Benz Kotzen (Chair, COST Action ES1104, University of Greenwich, UK
David Maguire (Vice Chancellor, University of Greenwich, UK

Day 1
Session 2

Applied multidisciplinary research in dryland restoration

Chair: Cristina Branquinho (University of Lisbon, Portugal)

Edoardo Costantini (Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Italy): Soil indicators to assess the effectiveness of restoration strategies in dryland ecosystems

Ilan Stavi (Dead Sea and Arava Science Centre, Israel): Moderate-intensity practices for restoring soil functions and ecosystem services in drylands

Melanie Köbel (University of Lisbon, Portugal): Plant diversity along a desertification gradient: the importance of soils

Discussion panel:

Richard Thomas (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, Jordan)
Pedro Berliner (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)
Fabrizio Cassi (Timesis, Italy)

Day 1
Session 3

From science to practice

Chair: Edoardo Costantini (Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Italy)

Roberto de Phillipis (University of Florence, Italy): The induction of biological soil crusts: an environmental biotechnology for the rehabilitation of desert soils

Alejandro Valdecantos (Mediterranean Centre for Environmental Studies, Spain): Plant-plant interactions in dryland restoration

Alexandra Silva (SECIL-Companhia Geral de Cal e Cimento, S.A., Portugal): Quarry rehabilitation and biodiversity: a case study from Portuga

Discussion panel:

Yannis Fermantzis (Ministry of Rural Development and Food, Greece)
Mchich Derak (Regional Directorate of Forestry and Desertification Control of the Rif, Morocco)
Moctar Sacande (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/FAO, UK)

Day 1
Session 4

Strategic approaches to land use planning

Chair: Gudrun Schwilch (University of Bern, Switzerland)

Janet Hooke (University of Liverpool, UK): Landscape approach to dryland restoration: a review of relevant concepts and tools for implementation

Maria Jose Marques (Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain): Multifaceted impacts of Sustainable Land Management in drylands

Matteo Jucker (University of Bern, Switzerland): Assessing resilience of land use systems in dry Mediterranean areas prone to regime shifts

Discussion panel:

Grammenos Mastrojeni (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italy
Karin van Boxtel (Both Ends, Netherlands)
Anton Imeson (3D Environmental Change, Netherlands)

Day 2
Session 1

Engagement with stakeholders

Chair: Maria Jose Marques (Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain)

Ute Schmiedel (University of Hamburg, Germany): The role of paraecologists in ecological restoration

Pandi Zdruli (CIHEAM Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari, Italy): Engaging with local communities in the restoration of Wadi Kharrouba, North West Desert, Egypt

Mehreteab Tesfai (Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy Research): Stakeholder involvement in water harvesting projects in Africa: a key factor for success

Discussion panel:

Mariam Akhtar-Schuster (PT-DLR, Germany)
Yasemen Karatas (Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, Turkey)
Troy Sternberg (University of Oxford, UK)

Day 2
Session 2

Learning from practitioners

Chair: Janet Hooke (University of Liverpool, UK)

Gudrun Schwilch (University of Bern, Switzerland): Learning from and sharing best practice in the management of drylands

Alice Nunes (University of Lisbon, Portugal): Ecological restoration across the Mediterranean basin as viewed by practitioners

Teresa Mexia (University of Lisbon, Portugal): Priorities, difficulties and challenges of restoration in drylands: young researchers’ perspectives

Discussion panel:

Roberto de Philippis (University of Florence, Italy)
Ramazan Apaydin (Ministry of Forestry and Water Affair, Turkey)
Anton Imeson (3D Environmental Change, Netherlands)

Day 2
Session 3

Setting New Agendas in Restoration Science

Chair: Simon Berkowicz (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)

Federico Rossi (University of Florence, Italy):
The role of cyanobacterial-produced exopolysaccharides in the successful induction of biological soil crusts in desertified areas

Alessandra Adessi (University of Florence, Italy):
Investigating the role of extracellular polymeric substances in the physiology of dryland biological soil crusts

Isaac Kedem (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel):
Exploring the role of an unusual green alga in the healthy functioning of a desert crust

Ariel Cohen (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel):
The impact of environmental change on the development of ephemeral gullies

Luca Paoli (University of Siena, Italy):
Desertification and lichens: biological markers of climatic and nitrogen stress in dry environments

David Finger (Reykjavik University, Iceland): Building up knowledge on resilience of fragile lands in subarctic climate.

Adriana Príncipe (University of Lisbon, Portugal):
Regenerating Mediterranean forest: the implications of microclimate in drylands

Troy Sternberg (University of Oxford, UK):
Mapping potential groundwater for sustainable Gobi Desert communities

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Dear all,

A quick note at the start of January to thank you for your commitment and hard work and to wish you a productive 2016.

The Desert Restoration Hub

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Can Sustainable Land Management Mitigate Desertification In Drylands?

Announcement 10th November 2015:

You are kindly invited to submit contributions to a session on ‘Can Sustainable Land Management Mitigate Desertification In Drylands?’ at the EUROSOIL 2016 Congress (Istanbul, 17-22 July 2016). The session will be co-chaired by ICARDA (Claudio Zucca) and FAO (Dr. Feras Ziadat)

Abstracts must be submitted on-line by 15 November 2015.

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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
  • 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.
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