Senckenberg Research




UNDESERT – Understanding and combating desertification to mitigate its impact on ecosystem services (EU-FP7)

The UNDESERT project was supported by the European Commission in its 7th framework and was a cooperational endeavour of partners from Benin, Burkina Faso, Denmark (coordinator: University Aarhus), Germany, Niger, Scotland and Senegal. 

Hills near Djibo, Burkina Faso

Hills near Djibo, Burkina Faso, at the start of the rainy season.

The project's aim was a better understanding of desertification and degradation processes in semiarid West Africa in order to combat these processes. In an interdisziplinary approach we combined biodiversity and soil data with climate and remote sensing data, socio-economic data and traditional knowledge of the local population to develop models and tools to help decision makers make good decisions concerning the natural resources.

The project comprised various workpackages (WP). Botanists of the Senckenberg Research Institute worked towards a knowledge plattform to combine the various biodiversity data with those of other disciplines (WP4). In this context the West African Vegetation Database und the West African Plants photo database were used.



Right: Animal-famaged Maerua crassifolia near Oursi, Burkina Faso.

Maerua crassifolia (Capparaceae)
Tiger bush near Zamarkoye, Burkina Faso

Tiger bush, a vegetation unit with stripes of dense shrub and bare soil alternating, near Zamarkoye, Burkina Faso.

From the Senckenberg Botany Department the following people worked in the UNDESERT project (2012-2015):

Marco Schmidt
Stefan Dressler
Georg Zizka

Contact: (phone +49 69 7542 1615)

A close cooperation in Frankfurt connected our work with the one of theworking group of Prof. Rüdiger Wittig (Dr. Karen Hahn) at Frankfurt University.