Thursday 21 July 2011

Europeans offer solutions to beat forest and land desertification

A report on a website of the EU Commission describes how EU-funded researchers are tackling desertification in dry areas of Europe and North Africa around the Mediterranean, and also in China.  The project apparently ‘fuels the initiative of the International Year of Forests, a global platform that targets the sustainable management of the world's forests’.

The LEDDRA ('Land and ecosystem degradation and desertification: assessing the fit of responses') project is backed with almost EUR 3.1 million and is aimed at suppressing processes by which land becomes increasingly arid until no vegetation grows.  Experts say that this will bolster economic development and create jobs in rural areas.

Those behind the project have found that the areas where they’re working, which are impacted by arid and semi-arid climatic conditions and have been occupied by people for many years, show desertification processes that have reduced water and soil availability. 

The researchers say that good management will allow the recovery and conservation of both elements, but that ‘only the solid management of existing forests can ensure soil conservation and water resources’.  They also believe that forest policies should be extended to agricultural areas where there is a high loss of soil and water as a result of excessive ploughing and use of herbicides.  The team points out that using the biomass of abandoned areas and farms that respect the conservation of resources helps provide and maintain work and income for people living in these areas.

Read more here.