Training Schools

Six Training Schools were organized over the course of the Action, with a total of 107 trainees taking part.

Training School 1

Role of biological sand crusts in a desert ecosystem versus ‘upgrading’ ecosystem productivity

Northern Negev desert, Israel (March 2013)

The Training School comprised of lectures, field visits, and selected experiments within an arid ecosystem containing sandy, rocky and loessial soils. Biological sand crusts (BSC) play a major role in stabilizing sand dunes in many desert areas, thereby providing conditions conducive to seed germination, plant establishment and plant productivity. Accordingly, there is considerable value in understanding the mechanisms that allow sandy regions to become stable or recover following disturbance of their protective BSC as this can lead to approaches and methods to encourage/accelerate crust formation and the return of vegetation. The scientific report on the training school can be found here:

Scientific Report Training School 1

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Training School 2

Semi-arid land management for crop production and restoration of man-made soils 

Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari, Italy (September 2013)

A unique soil management practice locally known as frantumazione is used in southern Italy which involves breaking the rocky topsoil using hydraulic hammers and then using grinding machinery in order to increase soil depth and to mix the soil and rocks.  In many shallow calcareous areas, farmers often add boulders of limestone rocks before the process begins. In the past two decades this practice has been carried out over more than 20,000 hectares in Puglia, leaving the soil and the landscape entirely altered, and without considering the medium and long-term effects on biodiversity conservation, landscape preservation and land management sustainability. The training school involved field surveys of flora and soils in both pristine and man-made soils in order to identify the impacts of human interventions on soil quality and biodiversity loss, and demonstrations of sustainable land management practices to improve soil quality and vegetation cover. The scientific report on the training school can be found here:

Scientific Report Training School 2

Videos of the lectures and fieldtrips can be found here:

Desert Restoration Hub on YouTube

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Training School 3

Participation-driven science in ecology and hydrology: Implementation of para-ecology in dryland research and restoration

University of Hamburg, Germany (February 2014)

The combat of desertification and restoration of arid and drylands requires a concerted effort at all stakeholder levels. At the local level, individuals and communities have the advantage of being able to make continuous observations and data collection, and have a democratic right in participation and the social wellbeing that is created locally through knowledge collection and dissemination. Therefore participation of local stakeholders is a key element of sustainable research, restoration, management and monitoring of dryland ecosystems. The training school focused on approaches for integrating local stakeholders through the involvement of para-ecologists, who are usually local people who have become specialists with extensive local knowledge and who have been trained largely on-the-job in one or more fields of ecological science. Para-ecologists communicate with the local and scientific communities, and contribute to both scientific research and local development. The scientific report on the training school can be found here:

Scientific Report Training School 3 

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Training School 4

Indicators of desertification: early warning signs

University of Lisbon, Portugal (May 2014)

This training school focused on indicators of desertification, including those recommended by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and other techniques developed as early warning tools which allow the prevention of desertification before it becomes irreversible. Ecological indicators can inform us about the health of dryland ecosystems and how close they are to a tipping point. In this training school we showed how ecological indicators based on plant and lichen functional diversity can be used as early warning indicators of desertification. The scientific report on the training school can be found here:

Scientific Report Training School 4 

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Training School 5

Plants, ecology and management for enhanced vegetation establishment for arid land restoration 

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (April 2015)

Land degradation and desertification is a global problem with numerous ecological and economic consequences. As self-repair mechanisms of degraded ecosystems are usually very slow, active restoration projects become necessary in order to combat desertification. This training school focused on the use of plant species, their ecology and management for enhanced vegetation establishment for arid land restoration. Selection of appropriate plant species is essential for successful restoration as it is directly related to the capacity of a species to colonize a degraded area. Vegetation establishment can be enhanced with the use of specific techniques, and sustainable management should ensure ecosystem services recovery. The scientific report on the training school can be found here:

Scientific Report Training School 5 

Videos of the lectures and fieldtrips can be found here:

Desert Restoration Hub on YouTube 

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Training School 6

Iberian Training School on restoration in Mediterranean drylands

University of Lisbon, Portugal, and Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain (May 2015)

The recovery vegetation after disturbance in an ecosystem is often fairly successful, but the original structure and functioning of the ecosystem take longer to be restored. Revegetation is one of the main tools used as the first step for restoring a degraded or degradation-prone ecosystem, especially when keystone plant species have disappeared due to the disturbance frequency and intensity or to the combination of several drivers acting either at the same or at different times. Special attention has to be paid when dealing with arid to semiarid areas where the ecosystem functioning follows a sink-source pattern that affects conservation and flows of resources. The success of revegetation depends on many factors related to plant management: species selection, seed and seedling quality, site preparation, and the early availability of light and soil resources. The training school focused on the various different techniques that can be used to overcome these constraints. The scientific report on the training school can be found here:

Scientific Report Training School 6

Videos of the lectures and fieldtrips can be found here:

Desert Restoration Hub on YouTube

One Response to Training Schools

  1. Dr. Suresh Kumar says:

    May we know how India could be included in COST countries

    Like

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