Nature conservation Lynx Program Sustainable Castro Verde Program Forestry Program Projects co-funded by the EU Other projects Promotion of steppe birds conservation in Castro Verde (Aves das Estepes) EVOA Tagus Estuary Birdwatching and Conservation Area Valorization Project of the Natural Heritage of Campo Branco Friendly fences for the great bustard Falco & Otis project: Protect the Lesser Kestrel and the Great Bustard Give Lesser Kestrel a new home PRACTICE Recovery and prevention actions to tackle desertification Conservation and reestablishment of the lesser kestrel in the Évora region

Practice is a global initiative that gathers scientists and key-actors from some of the most affected regions of the world.

Practice is a global initiative that gathers scientists and key-actors from some of the most affected regions of the world to collect scientific and local knowledge that raises awareness for the challenge of desertification.

This way, it is expected to learn from past and ongoing experiences and from the exchange of information generated.


PRACTICE involves research teams and platforms of key-actors in sites located in 12 countries. These sites, or monitoring places, are distributed by:

  • Mediterranean Europe: Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal;
  • Africa: Morocco, Namibia and South Africa;
  • Middle East: Israel;
  • Asia: China;
  • Central and South America: Mexico and Chile.


Portugal contributes to PRACTICE with the site: Special Protection Area (SPA) of Castro Verde birds, located in  low Alentejo.


LPN is the Portuguese key partner of the project, coordinated by the CEAM foundation in Spain.



Desertification is an important socio-economic and environmental problem that affects a large part of the arid areas of the world, resulting in a significant loss of economic and biologic productivity.

Answering to desertification, improving the efficiency in resources and land management represents a crucial step to improve the social well-being of arid areas. In spite the remarkable scientific progress in understanding desertification’s causes and processes, the assessment of practices to tackle it is limited, as well as the exchange of experiences and knowledge and the incorporation of the social dimension in the solutions. This way, the adoption of the best practices in the recovery and prevention efforts may be compromised.


PRACTICE aims, first, to develop and apply participatory assessment tools to determine the effectiveness of recovery and prevention practices, integrating the human and biophysical dimensions of desertification and the involvement of key-actors at all levels.


This involvement includes farmers, landowners, natural resources managers, scientists and policy makers (national and international). The tools developed under the project have a high potential and may be applicable to other areas (with the necessary adaptations), other than just desertification.


Second, PRACTICE foresees the establishment of an international network of monitoring areas in the long term to favor knowledge exchange on successful practices to tackle desertification worldwide. It is thus intended to provide and improve access to data in the long term to allow research and analysis to be carried out, to find the best possible solutions to tackle desertification.



For each project site, the partner teams identify the site key-actors and the actions to tackle desertification that have been implemented in the field.


Actions are afterwards assessed through a protocol created specifically for this and that requires compliance with the following general activities:

  • Interviews with key-actors to collect information about their perception in relation to the local actions to tackle desertification and indicators suggested during the interviews to assess these actions;
  • Definition of biophysical, economic and socio-cultural indicators for further measurement in the implementation area of the actions (common and specific indicators for each site – proposed by specialists and key-actors interviewed);
  • Workshops with key-actors to apply specific participative methodologies, in order to collect qualitative and quantitative data and exchange knowledge and social learnings among the participants;
  • Final workshop that presents the results of the integrated assessment of actions to tackle climate change (gathered through the application of multi-criteria analysis that integrates quantitative and qualitative data collected in previous stages) to key-actors. These key-actors will afterwards reassess these actions considering the knowledge exchange and social learning that the implemented protocol made possible. The project team synthesizes and presents the results of this reassessment and, during the participatory process, also gathers quantitative and qualitative information.


The four plenary meetings that will also happen during the project in several of the participating countries (Spain, Italy, Portugal and South Africa) allow the presentation of the results of the work carried out in the several sites and the clarification of doubts by all the partners. These meetings constitute a wide debating place among scientists that interact with different land realities and different key-actors.


During the project, written and audiovisual materials are also prepared, documenting the results of the activities carried out and constitute a dissemination means of the project output to the scientific community and to the public in general. The following elements stand out:

  • Preparation of informational sheets about the projects in the languages of the partner entities;
  • Preparation of project sheets and actions to tackle desertification on the sites to be presented to key-actors during interviews;
  • Interim report on the participatory process carried out on all sites (coordinated by LPN);
  • Report for each site on the measurement of selected indicators on the field;
  • Final report on the participatory process carried out on all sites;
  • Creation of informative videos for dissemination to the public, namely:
  1. Video directed by LPN about the meeting of the partners that took place in May 2011 in Castro Verde (includes the field visit, in which key-actors and project partners from several countries participated, as well as the presentation of preliminary reports on the Castro Verde site, resulting from the application of the initial stages of the protocol established by the project);
  2. Video to be produced after the final meeting in South Africa;
  3. Other videos directed by partners about their sites, namely, El Salado in Mexico.
  • Make publicly available on the internet the database with the measured indicators on all sites
  • Synthesis report with a global overview of the best practices identified to tackle desertification.



The written and audiovisual materials that constitute the outputs of the project are available here (



  • League for the Protection of Nature (LPN) - Portugal
  • Alicante University - Spain
  • Business University Foundation of the Murcia Region & Spanish Ministry of Environment (Fundación Universidad Empresa Región de Murcia & Ministério do Ambiente Espanhol of Environment) - Spain
  • School of Environmental Sciences and Development, North-West University (NWU) – South Africa
  • University of Trier - Germany
  • University of Hamburg, BioCentre Flottbek (UHAM) - Germany
  • Ecology and Biodiversity Institute (Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad - IEB) - Chile
  • NE Normal University & Shengyang Institute of Applied Ecology (NENU-CAS) – China
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - Greece
  • Ben Gurion University (BGU) - Israel
  • Research Unit on Desertification (Nucleo di Ricerca sulla Desertificazione - NRD), University of Sassari - Italy
  • Euro Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC) - Italy
  • Nuevo León Autonomous University (UANL) - Mexico
  • University of Aberdeen (UNIABDN) – United Kingdom
  • University of Arizona - USA



Total cost: 1,109,720€

EC contribution: 976,963€


Project duration

Duration: 36 months | Start date: 01/09/2009 End date: 31/08/2012

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