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Project information of DESIRE
Author: WangFei
Update time: 10/28/2009
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Creeping desertification around the world affects more than 250 million people. A newly launched research project is working to fight the phenomenon with new conservation strategies.

Funded under the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), the DESIRE project is international, bringing together 28 research institutes, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and policy-makers from around the world.

The aim of the €9 million project is to come up with alternative strategies for the use and protection of these vulnerable areas.

The team of researchers has identified 18 hotspots from southern Europe to Australia, Chile and China, covering a wide range of problems, from soil erosion by wind or water, to salinisation and droughts or flash floods.

These hotspots will be the 'global laboratory' for researchers to apply both tested conservation techniques and remediation measures, and find new and innovative approaches to combat desertification.

The project will begin by making an inventory of local knowledge. Working with local residents, the scientists will study the methods and techniques used to prevent land degradation in that region and combine them with new scientific insights.

The researchers hope that this close collaboration of scientists with local stakeholder groups will lead to acceptable and feasible conservation techniques. Ultimately, the DESIRE project should lead to practical guidelines for responsible land use. In addition, a web-based information system of 'best management practices' will be made available to target groups.

Yan River Basin is one of the research sites focusing on the soil and wind erosion that is the main desertification problem in the Loess Plateau. Professor Li Rui and Dr. Wang Fei of Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, CAS and MWR and Northwest A&F University are the coordinators of the research site.

The project runs well according to its planning. The 2 different stakeholder workshops were held in Ansai County, Yanan city to identify the environmental problems and the promising strategies of combating desertification in this region. Based on this project, the friendly cooperation between our Institute and other international organizations was held.

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