Every year, the Mediterranean land loses about 0.5 tons of fertile soil per hectare due to soil erosion, which is almost double than the European average. At the same time, the water resources of the Mediterranean basin are under constant pressure, due to intense weather events but mainly due to anthropogenic causes, such as climate change, urbanization, population growth and resource overexploitation. This pressure, which inevitably leads the Mediterranean countries to a downward spiral of land degradation and desertification, is one of the single greatest risks to the conservation of local ecosystems and the livelihoods of the Mediterranean communities.
To address these risks, deeper scientific knowledge and better environmental monitoring are needed, so that scientists and decision makers can improve environmental assessments and propose effective sustainable land and water management measures. These measures may include well-established or innovative actions such as afforestation of marginal lands, mulching to prevent erosion and conservation of soil moisture, differentiated cultivation systems, integrated or biological management of soil fertility, use of alternative water resources, efficient irrigation systems, and smart farming.
In this context, the PRIMA REACT4MED Project, entitled "Inclusive Outscaling of Agro-ecosystem Restoration ACTions of the Mediterranean", brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers and professionals working to enhance Sustainable Land and Water Management and improve the livelihoods of Mediterranean communities. The REACT4MED Project, funded by the PRIMA Programme, consists of 11 partners (Universities, research institutes, and an SME) from countries cooperating with PRIMA (Greece, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, Israel, Spain, Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt).
The PRIMA Programme (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area) is a European Union Programme supported by Horizon 2020, focused on building research and innovation capacities, and devising innovative solutions addressing critical problems in the fields of water management and agro-alimentary systems in the Mediterranean.
The PRIMA REACT4MED Project is coordinated by the Hellenic Mediterranean University, led by Prof. Dr. Thrassyvoulos Manios, Vice-Rector of HMU, and Dr. Ioannis Daliakopoulos, Assistant Professor at the Department of Agriculture of HMU.
The CIHEAM Bari team is led by Prof. Pandi Zdruli and collaborating researchers, Dr. Daniela D’Agostino. During REACT4MED, which is schedules to end in 2025, Project partners will work systematically for the widespread implementation of measures to enhance sustainable land and water management, to support increased agropastoral productivity and accelerate and disseminate relevant technological innovation.