In 2017, 25% of land in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe was estimated to be at high or very high risk of desertification. Risks are likely to increase as a consequence of accelerating climate change and continued pressures from land use, both in Europe and beyond. Desertification not only reduces agricultural productivity but also leads to loss of biodiversity, of organic carbon and of other land-based ecosystem services. Desertification further amplifies global warming through the release of CO2 linked with the decrease in vegetation cover. It has severe environmental, social and economic consequences.
-Synthesise evidence on and assess drivers for land degradation at a large scale using models, and land management action alternatives (scenarios) to alleviate those pressures
-Demonstrate and promote measures for reducing and reversing desertification, taking into account changing climatic conditions, diverse land use (also beyond agriculture) and different scales of actions
-Specifically for agriculture: Identify and demonstrate farming systems which are more resilient and are suitable for combatting desertification while sustaining ecosystem services
-Analyse incentives and obstacles for the widespread uptake of prevention and restoration measures
-The drivers and impacts (particularly socio-economic ones) of land degradation of natural and agricultural systems in arid areas (as well as areas becoming increasingly arid) are more effectively addressed
-Locally/regionally adapted, economically viable solutions for the prevention of soil desertification and for the restoration of degraded land (soil protection measures that help retain water and reduce water needs, improve management of soil organic matter, avoid salinisation and increase resilience to droughts) are applied in selected sites
-Access for land managers everywhere to such solutions and to information about the conditions under which they are effective is facilitated.