Land degradation and desertification are major threats for the present and future of Mediterranean arid and semiarid agro-ecosystems. Long-term anthropogenic pressure on forest and agricultural lands, combined with abiotic factors and frequent extreme events, create an uncertain and unstable living environment which can lead to poverty and force domestic and even cross-border migration. Together with land degradation, the accelerated dryland expansion occurring in the Mediterranean climate change hot spot threatens the biological systems and the natural resources that sustain agriculture and forests.
REACT4MED aims to enhance Sustainable Land and Water Management to support increased agropastoral productivity, accelerate technological innovation and dissemination, reverse land degradation, and improve the livelihoods of Mediterranean communities. To achieve this, REACT4MED follows two conceptual directions: A top-down approach introduces broad-scale concepts and methods that highlight good, cost-effective practices against land, water, and agro-ecosystem degradation as well as physical vulnerabilities, while a bottom-up, multi-actor approach is used to overcome obstacles, and to support their substantial out-scaling.
Across the Mediterranean, eight Pilot Areas in Turkey, Morocco, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, and Italy have been specifically selected for the capacity to implement large-scale land degradation restoration actions initiated and monitored during the project’s lifetime, and the foundation will be set for organic support after the lifetime of the project. Restoration actions will combat soil erosion by water (e.g., conservation agriculture (MO), terracing (CY), cover crops (ES), forestation (GR), irrigation technology (IT)), soil salinisation (e.g., soil amendments (TR), irrigation technology (IT, TR, MO)), and loss of biodiversity (IL, GR).