Understanding sudden shifts in dryland ecosystems ...


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One of the most challenging themes in ecology over the last decades is the quest for the understanding of discontinuous changes in ecosystems. Discontinuous shifts have already been observed and analyzed for a wide variety of ecological systems, including lakes, drylands, peatlands and rangelands. Some of these discontinuous shifts in ecosystems imply undesired and irreversible changes.

The EU-funded CASCADE project (2012-2017, contract 283068) investigated and analyzed a range of dryland ecosystems in southern Europe to obtain a better understanding of sudden shifts in drylands that may lead to major losses in biodiversity and concomitant ecosystem services.


This website presents CASCADE's study sites, research questions, methodologies, results and key messages and recommendations, making them available for use by policymakers and land users to enable more sustainable management of drylands worldwide.

Understanding and managing shifts in dryland ecosystems

Understanding and managing shifts in dryland ecosystems

Dr Violette Geissen explains what the CASCADE project is about.

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The CASCADE project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under grant agreement no. 283068.
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