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Sicignano degli Alburni, Italy

Geeson N.,MEDES Foundation | Brandt J.,MEDES Foundation | Quaranta G.,University of Basilicata | Salvia R.,MEDES Foundation
Environmental Management | Year: 2013

Until around 1995 it was challenging to make the scientific results of research projects publicly available except through presentations at meetings or conferences, or as papers in academic journals. Then it began to be clear that the Internet could become the main medium to publish and share new information with a much wider audience. The DESIRE Project (desertification mitigation and remediation of land—a global approach for local solutions) has built on expertise gained in previous projects to develop an innovative online ‘Harmonized Information System’ (HIS). This documents the context, delivery and evaluation of all tasks in the DESIRE Project using non-scientific terminology, with much of it also available in the local languages of the study sites. The DESIRE-HIS makes use of new possibilities for communication, including video clips, interactive tools, and links to social media networks such as Twitter. Dissemination of research results using this approach has required careful planning and design. This paper sets out the steps that have culminated in a complete online Information System about local solutions to global land management problems in desertification-affected areas, including many practical guidelines for responsible land management. As many of those who are affected by desertification do not have Internet access, printable dissemination materials are also available on the DESIRE-HIS. © 2013, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Geeson N.,MEDES Foundation | Quaranta G.,MEDES Foundation | Salvia R.,MEDES Foundation | Brandt J.,MEDES Foundation
Journal of Arid Environments | Year: 2015

For over 20 years, there has been a continuing program of EC-funded research across Europe on the causes and processes of land degradation and desertification. The Agri Valley in southern Italy is one area that has been studied in detail, and gradually stakeholders (ranging from farmers to policy makers) have been involved more actively, through consultations and workshops. Questionnaires to policy makers, students and farmers have been used to establish how levels of education and awareness of land degradation-related issues have changed over this time, and which issues are most prominent today. Many respondents now consider desertification and land degradation to be part of a wider concern for protecting the environment for the future and this, more holistic, view has resulted in a range of new sustainable approaches supporting the future livelihoods of the local population. However, social, economic and environmental "lock-ins" have also been identified, that can make sustainability less achievable. Television and the internet are the most successful media for social learning, and smartphones with apps are likely to have a big part to play in the future. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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