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Desertification Indicator System for Mediterranean Europe

DIS4ME editor: Jane Brandt <desertlinks@medalus.demon.co.uk>

This site gives access to some 148 indicators of relevance to Mediterranean desertification. It is being designed by the DESERTLINKS research project to provide a tool to enable users from a wide range of backgrounds, including scientists, policy makers and farmers, to:
  • identify where desertification is a problem,
  • assess how critical the problem is,
  • better understand the processes of desertification.

The indicator system contains a variety of information and calculation tools.

Desertification and DIS4ME

  • Desertification and indicators: questions and answers.
  • Take part in the evaluation of DIS4ME.


  • Review background information about indicators and the indicator system: choosing and using indicators, development of DIS4ME, sources of indicators for DIS4ME, review of other indicator systems.
  • View the complete indicators list (grouped according to their relevance to ecophysical, economic, ecological and institutional aspects of desertification).
  • Access the DIS-DataBase. Sort and search the data base of indicators. As a registered user you can add new indicators to the system.
  • View indicators relating to specific desertification issues (such as intensive irrigation, land abandonment or institutional organisation).

Using and combining indicators

  • Headline indicators are single indicators integrating several aspects of a more complex system.
  • Assess the sensitivity to desertification of your local area with the ESI tool, based on the ESA methodology.
  • See examples of how the ESA metholology can be used to develop different scenarios based on changes in land use or management practice.
  • Calculate desertification risk from salinisation and erosion under specific land uses (such as pine forest, cereals).
  • Assess the economic and enviromental consequences of the decisions land users make concerning the various agricultural practices used.
  • View indicators of relevance to national and Mediterranean-wide scales.
  • View indicators of relevance to the Annex IV National Action Programmes.

Linking science and stakeholders

  • Obtain information which has been developed to disseminate scientific information about desertification to the stakeholder community.
  • The consultation of stakeholders about their experience and perception of desertification, land management measures they take to combat desertification and factors affecting their decision making has been of fundamental importance to the development of DIS4ME.
  • Some of the methodologies and indicators contained in DIS4ME have already been used and applied in other areas.
  • Many people have taken part in the evaluation of DIS4ME during its development. View the comments and suggestions made.