An important amount of new knowledge and research material has been obtained from the many projects carried out in the EU-DG12 ‘Environment and Climate programme’. However, little effort has gone into making this scientific material available as part of practical planning or management tools for public policy makers at the regional or local level. In a two-year project, MODULUS developed a generic spatial Decision Support System for integrated environmental policy-making at the regional level (on average 2000 km square). Models from past or ongoing EU-projects were adapted and integrated that represent the physical, economic and social aspects of land degradation and desertification in Northern Mediterranean coastal watersheds. In particular, scientific material developed in MEDALUS, EFEDA, ARCHAEOMEDES, ERMES and ModMED was considered for integration. MODULUS reviewed the existing models and adapted them in view of their integration into a multi-scale, multi-temporal dynamic modelling framework. This integration resulted in a new and powerful instrument enabling a better understanding of the processes causing land degradation and desertification in Mediterranean Europe. A tool also enabling the design of measures aimed at mitigating the consequences of land degradation and desertification.
The individual models operate at very different temporal and geographical scales. At the most detailed temporal scale, processes taking few minutes are represented, and, at the most detailed geographical scale dynamic models running on top of raster-GIS layers are implemented.
The system enables the end-user to gain access to state of the art knowledge about the case regions, and provides him with appropriate tools for the design and evaluation of integrated policies in an iterative, direct and user-friendly manner. The MODULUS DSS is developed as a very interactive, transparent and (geo)graphical instrument. It runs on PC machines under Windows NT and makes extensive use of Active X and COM Component Technology. The system developed has a high level of flexibility and generic applicability. In order to demonstrate its generic applicability the MODULUS DSS is applied to two case regions: the Argolidas (Greece) and the Marina Baixa (Spain), but it is applicable in other regions in the Mediterranean where similar or related problems exist.
Potential end-users from local planning and decision-making authorities were actively involved in the project and clarified the range of issues that preoccupy the local stakeholders and policy makers. They also helped in defining the parameters, variables and policy indicators that are considered relevant by the end-users for their practical policy preparation work.
In its own practical and pragmatic manner the MODULUS project did partake in furthering the scientific foundations and practical tools for rational and sustainable management of land resources in parts of the Northern Mediterranean region that are subject to land degradation and desertification.
Some background information can be found in the report that is attached below. The MedAction project is a follow up of MODULUS and includes among others more recent versions of the software.