John Thornes and desertification research in Europe

Mike Kirkby*, Louise J. Bracken, Jane Brandt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter discusses the evolution of the framework programmes (FPs) and the key research issues and approaches that evolved through the successive projects that John Thornes was influential in planning and running. For the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), desertification means land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities. Within the European Community (EC), desertification has been a topic of active research since the 1980s. Over more than 20 years, the emphasis of the FPs has changed significantly, both in its scientific stance and in a progressive shift from basic research to more applied objectives. John provided a strong leadership in coordinating the Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use (MEDALUS) projects. He created a Europe-wide research community with a sense of common purpose and formed a MEDALUS 'family' that is still influential in carrying forwards research into desertification.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMonitoring and Modelling Dynamic Environments
Subtitle of host publication(A Festschrift in Memory of Professor John B. Thornes)
EditorsAlan P. Dykes, Mark Mulligan, John Wainwright
Place of PublicationWest Sussex, UK ; Hoboken, NJ
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781118649596
ISBN (Print)9780470711217
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


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