New technologies to fight climate change in marginal lands

A new European Project will provide novel uses for degraded, polluted or unproductive lands and support their role as carbon sinks through activities related to forestry or agriculture.


A new Horizon 2020 project will identify marginal lands in Europe and strengthen their potential to contribute to a CO2 sequestration strategy. Identifying Marginal Lands in Europe (MAIL) is a three-year project which will deliver a web-based regional platform with data, methodology and applications which will be valuable for policy makers, stakeholders or researchers.

The project kick-off meeting took place at the beginning of the year in Brussels and was attended by the six members of the consortium which is coordinated by the University of Thessaloniki. Other partners are Cesefor, the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the environmental Greek consultancy Homeotech; the German firm IAGB MBH, expert in geospatial and Earth observation, and the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences (CBK PAN).

Project objectives include detecting marginal lands, classifying them and assessing their potential use as carbon sinks in the EU. Indicatively, marginal lands may be abandoned lands, unproductive lands, degraded lands, barren lands, contaminated lands, etc.

These areas will be identified with multi-criteria spatial analysis, classified according to their potential capacity of carbon absorption using remote sensing techniques and actions will be proposed to increase carbon sequestration. Techniques and methodologies will be shared on a web platform.

The project plans to study specific cases in pilot areas in order to increase carbon sequestration through afforestation or reforestation. It also considers studying the socio-economic benefits of such interventions, which is expected to serve as a starting point to promote future development plans in these areas.

MAIL is funded under the H2020 framework through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie/RISE action, which enables international and intersectoral cooperation through researcher-staff exchange between partner institutions of the project.

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EFIMED is the Mediterranean Facility of the European Forest Institute. Based in Barcelona, Spain, it was launched in 2007.