|Title||A desertification risk assessment decision support tool (DRAST)|
|Author(s)||Karavitis, Christos A.; Tsesmelis, Demetrios E.; Oikonomou, Panagiotis D.; Kairis, Orestis; Kosmas, Constantinos; Fassouli, Vassilia; Ritsema, Coen; Hessel, Rudi; Jetten, Victor; Moustakas, Nikolaos; Todorovic, Branislav; Skondras, Nikolaos A.; Vasilakou, Constantina G.; Alexandris, Stavros; Kolokytha, Elpida; Stamatakos, Demetrios V.; Stricevic, Ruzica; Chatzigeorgiadis, Emmanuel; Brandt, Jane; Geeson, Nicky; Quaranta, Giovanni|
|Source||Catena 187 (2020). - ISSN 0341-8162|
Soil Physics and Land Management
Soil, Water and Land Use
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Decision support systems - Desertification assessment - Desertification indicators - Desertification risk - Expert systems - Land and water resources management - Strategies to combat desertification - Web-based systems|
Desertification constantly and diachronically manifested itself as one of the most critical environmental issues to be confronted and mitigated by society. This work presents the development of a land desertification risk Expert System (ES) for assessing the application of different land management practices by utilizing indicators through a desertification risk index (DRI). The DRI was developed by a desertification risk assessment framework generated in seventeen study sites worldwide. This assessment was performed through a methodological process incorporating indicators suited to a plethora of physical, social and economic characteristics. Then, the Desertification Risk Assessment Support Tool (DRAST) was created using the indicators’ methodology in an effort to efficiently handle complexity and variability in soil and water resources management. To demonstrate DRAST's applicability, an independent data base of indicators was used, and the tool was employed in all the seventeen study sites. Five indicative sites, experiencing different desertification processes, are selected as key representatives of the methodological process implementation. Overall, the assessment depicted that DRAST performs appropriately in demarcating existing desertification risk as well as in portraying how the desertification risk changes after the application of pertinent mitigation actions. Thus, the current approach may lead towards a standardized procedure, which is using the advantages of information technology to assess the effectiveness of various land management practices and facilitate stakeholders and decision-makers to produce and implement timely and appropriate responses to combat desertification.