European Commission : CORDIS : Projects & Results Service

Photo credit: Cordis Europa

© Anne Mette Lykke

UNDESERT Result In Brief

Project reference: 243906
Funded under: FP7-ENVIRONMENT
Country: Denmark

Combating climate change and desertification in West Africa

Scientists from the EU and West Africa have worked together to investigate the effects of desertification in West Africa and implemented mitigation measures alongside local people. These measures included restoring the ecosystem through tree plantations for carbon sequestration, sometimes known as carbon forestry.
Desertification and land degradation occur in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas and are driven by climatic variations and human activity. The result can be the degradation of soil and vegetation over billions of hectares of rangeland and cropland.

The UNDESERT (Understanding and combating desertification to mitigate its impact on ecosystem services) project was established to provide greater insight into desertification and land degradation, and their impacts on ecosystems.

The aim was to combat desertification and land degradation in order to mitigate the impacts on ecosystem services and consequently on human livelihoods. This can set in motion a positive cycle that can contribute to alleviating poverty and generate benefits at the community level in accordance with the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals.

Researchers took an interdisciplinary approach, using remote sensing data with vegetation, soil and socioeconomic information for application in novel computer modelling techniques. They worked with local stakeholders to assess the impact of desertification and to ensure successful implementation of sustainable management practices. In addition, the consortium developed decision-support tools and best practice guidelines for natural resource managers based on early warning indicators of environmental degradation.

Read the full article: Cordis Europa

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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