The CASCADE Project


Message of DesertNet International,


Please find attached the August newsletter of the CASCADE project. More details about the Project can be found on the website and information system

Reporting on our recent

Plenary meeting in Chania, Crete

Knowledge needed to understand and predict thresholds for catastrophic shifts in dryland ecosystems of Europe is still limited. The challenge is to improve the understanding of the underlying processes in soil-water-plant systems, as well as of socio-economic drivers and land use management. We are establishing what might move dryland ecosystems towards thresholds, to be able to define threshold values for tipping points and to find ways to prevent such shifts from occurring.

When tipping points are likely to be approached, urgent action is needed to avoid catastrophic shifts in the dryland ecosystem. We aim to create decision-making tools to find suitable management options that help prevent shifts and promote sustainable land management. We hope that these tools, along with predictions for tipping points, can be used by policymakers and land users for more sustainable management of drylands worldwide.

In the CASCADE Project, researchers are carrying out experiments in study sites in parts of dryland Portugal, Spain, Italy, Crete and Cyprus to find a better understanding of discontinuous shifts, or tipping points, in ecosystems.



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.