Convener: Miriam Muñoz-Rojas (University of Western Australia, Australia), Co-conveners: Paloma Hueso-Gonzalez (University of Malaga, Spain,
Thomas Baumgartl (University of Queensland, Australia), Cristina Branquinho (Centre of Environmental Biology, Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon University, Portugal), Buhalqem Mamtimin (Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Satellite Research, Germany)
Biogeochemical processes and their effects on the ecosystem functioning in arid and semi-arid areas are unique. As they are strongly tied to the water cycle, and to a large extent are believed to be triggered and enhanced by water, a scarce resource in drylands, their importance in such ecosystems is often overlooked. Land disturbances can modify ecosystem functions and services, and, in the absence of restoration, these ecosystems would remain in a degraded state or even continue to decline. The effects of land degradation can be particularly severe in arid and semi-arid environments, where the effects of anthropogenic activities such as land abandonment, mining activities or deforestation can be compounded by the challenges of prolonged periods of drought and intense and irregular rainfall.
This session addresses biogeochemical and ecohydrological processes in arid, semi-arid, and drought-prone environments, and restoration and rehabilitation approaches to reestablish ecosystem functions and services. Topics of interest are (although not limited to): (a) soil-vegetation-atmosphere interactions and biogeochemical and eco-hydrological controls on water, (b) nutrients availability in soils and plants in both natural and anthropogenic impacted (e.g., land use changes and land degradation) environments, (c) causes and impacts of land degradation and remedial actions for restoration at local, regional or global scales (d) quality or health indicators of ecosystem recovery (e.g. soil physicochemical or microbiological) and (e) linkages between aboveground and belowground ecosystems in natural and restored ecosystems.
A special issue for the journal Land Degradation and Development (IF 8.1) linked to this session is currently being organized. Selected abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper.