Understanding our ecosytem is key to our changing climate

Drylands ecosystems cover 40% of the Earth’s surface, accounting for approx. 40% of the global net primary productivity and supporting more than 30% of the population! Needless to say that dryland ecosystems are important. But despite their importance, global change, unsustainable use of natural resources and climate extremes put ecosystems largely under pressure with e.g. land degration as a result.

As a result of these climate and anthropogenic disturbances, ecosystems have switched to a new state of functioning were found. The goal is now to understand and quantify such abrupt changes (or ‘ turning points) in the functioning of dryland ecosystems.

U-TURN focuses on disentangling climatic and anthropogenic drivers and assessing proxies for early warning of turning points in ecosystem functioning (EF). This will be achieved by combining advanced Earth Observation (EO) techniques with Dynamic Vegetation Models (DVMs).