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Postdoctoral Project

PROJECT TITLE

Spatial analysis of land degradation sensitivity in Romania using the multi-criteria MEDALUS methodology

PROJECT ACRONYM

LANDERSER

RESEARCH PROJECT DESCRIPTION (ABSTRACT)

Land degradation is a critical global and European environmental issue, which consists of the diminishment or loss in land economic and biological productivity, against the background of disruptive factors such as climate change and anthropogenic activities. Romania is one of the most vulnerable European countries in terms of land degradation, considering it is located in the continent’s central south-eastern region, which is known to be Europe’s most heavily exposed area to the alteration of environmental biophysical conditions, alongside the Mediterranean region. Given this context, the project aims to perform a spatial analysis of land sensitivity to degradation in Romania, using a complex, multi-criteria and interdisciplinary methodological approach. This approach is based on the widely-used MEDALUS (Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use) methodology, which, using Geographic Information Systems, processes certain primary environmental indicators known to be driving forces of land degradation, i.e. Climate Quality Index, Soil Quality Index, Vegetation Quality Index, Water Quality Index and Management Quality Index. By obtaining the 5 indicators (based on a high number of relevant sub-indicators) and by integrating them in the final product – the Land Degradation Sensitivity Index –, the project essentially aims to obtain the first-ever nation-wide mapping and analysis of areas that are exposed to this environmentally disruptive process. This analysis, highly useful both ecologically and economically, which has not been attempted before nationally or regionally, will deliver results that can prompt essential contributions to the understanding of the process, in terms of spatial range, manifestation mechanism and associated consequences, and, most notably, to the prioritization and implementation of measures to improve degraded land issued by policy makers.

THE PROJECT’S OBJECTIVES

Identification/acquisition of all geographical data sets (pedological, climatic, hydrologic, biotic) deemed necessary for the MEDALUS model implementation, in accordance with the regional/national specificities of this environmental process;
Processing the data to obtain the main biophysical indicators that are driving forces of land degradation, which will help generate the final index of land susceptibility to degradation;
Mapping/statistical analysis of all national lands with different degrees of sensitivity to this process, based on the final index of land susceptibility to degradation;
Validation of the final sensitivity model with field investigations;
Raising awareness on the importance of a multi-criteria/interdisciplinary analysis of this environmental issue in Romania’s scientific/political spheres by disseminating the study’s results.

PROJECT MANAGER AND HOST INSTITUTION

Name and surname: Prăvălie Remus
E-mail address: pravalie_remus@yahoo.com
Institution name: University of Bucharest
Institution address: Bd. M. Kogălniceanu, 36–46, 050107, 5th District, Bucharest, Romania

PROJECT MENTOR

Prof. Dr. Bandoc Georgeta

SCIENTIFIC DELIVRABLES (UP TO THE PRESENT)

Articles directly related to the project theme:

  • Prăvălie R., Bandoc G., Patriche C., Sternberg T., 2019. Recent changes in global drylands: Evidences from two major aridity databases. Catena (in press), Impact Factor 3.3 (red zone, Q1 Web of Science).

Articles indirectly related to the project theme:

  • Prăvălie R., Patriche C., Bandoc G., 2019. Spatial assessment of solar energy potential at global scale. A geographical approach. Journal of Cleaner Production, 209: 692–721, Impact Factor 5.7 (red zone, Q1 Web of Science).
  • Bandoc G., Prăvălie R., Patriche C., Degeratu M., 2018. Spatial assessment of wind power potential at global scale. A geographical approach. Journal of Cleaner Production, 200: 1065–1086, Impact Factor 5.7 (red zone, Q1 Web of Science).

International conferences directly related to the project theme:

  • Prăvălie R., Bandoc G., Patriche C., 2018. Global expansion of arid environments: A major cause for the enhancement of land degradation and other worldwide environmental issues. International conference “Present Environment and Sustainable Development”, 13 Edition, 1–3 June, Iasi, Romania.