"What we hope to get out of this project is the development of a common, harmonised information system available to all Mediterranean countries affected by desertification processes, making it possible to permanently access the data needed to monitor changes as they occur."
The term 'desertification' refers not to the spread of existing deserts, but the creation of new ones through the degradation of susceptible arid or dryland ecosystems, which extend over a third of the Earth's land surface. Degradation is mainly due to human activities such as overfarming or land clearance, although drought also degrades the quality and productivity of soil and vegetation, and the impact of climate change remains an open question.
Mismanagement of land strips nutrients from soil and diminishes vegetation cover. And without plants or trees to bind the soil together, topsoil that has taken centuries to accumulate is blown or washed away, further reducing the biological productivity of the land until finally it becomes useless. The Worldwatch Institute estimates the Earth's landmasses lose up to 24 thousand million tonnes of topsoil annually.
"In the case of Turkey, our economy is highly dependent on agriculture, so soil is to be considered one of our major natural resources to be efficiently protected so a maximum level of productivity should be sustained," added Duzgun. "The total area affected by soil erosion mainly d
Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
European Space Agency