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The Desertification Research Centre (CIDE) is a public scientific research centre. Due to our nature as a mixed centre, three institutions are involved in our management: Spanish Research Council (CSIC), the University of Valencia and the Autonomous Government of Valencia through the Conselleria de Agricultura, Desarrollo Rural, Emergencia Climática y Transición Ecológica and the Conselleria de Innovación, Universidades, Ciencia y Sociedad Digital.

At CIDE we work, since its origin, to provide knowledge based on scientific evidence, and to communicate to society the importance of environmental issues, and in particular, about the risk and potential impact of desertification and climate change on ecosystems and human beings, and thus contribute to the protection of our environment. In this sense, we are one of the pioneer centers in Europe in the study of desertification and one of the few institutes devoted to this topic, with a solid base and extensive experience in the study of soil, water and ecosystem degradation processes, mainly in the Mediterranean. In constant evolution, our strategic objectives, included in our Action Plans, are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To carry out our work, we have a multidisciplinary team with 17 researchers on staff whose lines of work are framed in the Departments of Environmental Quality and Soils, and Ecology and Global Change; and we have a total of 65 workers including administrative and service staff, technicians and researchers and pre and postdoctoral researchers.

The Department of Environmental Quality and Soils is the result of the merger of the Departments of Soil Degradation and Conservation and Land Planning, approved by the Board of the Center on October 15, 2018. Currently, the activities of the department, within the general framework of the research lines of the CIDE, are focused on deepening the knowledge, evaluation and monitoring of the environmental quality of the territory, and of soils as a fundamental component of it. The central axis is the study of desertification factors and processes in Mediterranean environments. Included here are: soil typification, erosion, contamination, salinization, loss of organic matter, anthropogenic sealing, forest fires, application of remote sensing in environmental studies, global change, assessment of current risks and sources of environmental degradation and its possible future projection at different scales, through its research lines.

The work of the Department of Ecology and Global Change, on the other hand, is framed in research and teaching on ecology and evolution in dry ecosystems. Within this framework, it directs its efforts to the study of the ecological and evolutionary processes that affect species, populations and communities in ecosystems dominated by drought and other stress factors, as well as to the study of the factors that shape the response of organisms. Thus, research in this department ranges from studies on the characteristics and dynamics of the climatic factors -with emphasis on wind- and soil factors that affect these environments, to studies on the biology of plants and animals, the response of living beings to disturbances -especially forest fires-, interactions between plants, soil and erosion, interactions between plant species -with special emphasis on facilitation processes-, interactions between animals and plants (pollination, dispersal, overfaunation, etc.), as well as the rules that determine the response of organisms to drought and other stresses, and the rules that shape the response of organisms. ) as well as the rules that determine and structure species composition in communities and the evolutionary consequences of all these factors.

From a more applied point of view, many of the studies we carry out have implications for the management of nutrients and water in agricultural systems, and in a more general framework for land management, biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration.

CIDE has participated and participates in multiple research and environmental advisory committees at regional, national and international levels. The Centre participated in the elaboration, development and monitoring of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, including Annex IV of the Regional Implementation for the Mediterranean; and in regional and national desertification control plans, such as the National Action Program to Combat Desertification (PAND). It also participates in European Union committees and initiatives, including the elaboration of the European Strategy for Soil Protection. It also advises the Valencian Parliament, Generalitat Valenciana (Advisory and Participation Council for the Environment (CAPMA), Forestry Board, Threatened Flora Committee, etc.), European Parliament, OECD, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), UICN, etc.

This centre also contributes to academic and professional training through its participation in different masters and doctorate programs of different universities (Univ. Valencia, Univ. Politécnica de Valencia, Univ. de Alcalá de Henares, etc.), as well as collaborating in the training of university personnel through the supervised internship programs of the different universities.


A little bit of History

On April 21, 1995 the Cooperation Agreement was signed between the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, the Universitat de València and the Generalitat Valenciana, for the creation of the Desertification Research Centre (CIDE, CSIC-UV-GVA). It was on September 27, 1996, with the signing of an addendum to the agreement, when the CIDE was effectively launched. This moment represents the culmination of a long process that began in the early 1980s.

From the original, Structural Research Unit of Soil Fertilization and Plant Nutrition of the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA, CSIC), led since 1980 by Dr. José Luis Rubio Delgado, and the first CIDE research unit in Spain. José Luis Rubio Delgado, and the Earth Sciences Research Unit of the University of Valencia, headed from 1980 by Dr. Juan Sánchez Díaz, to the Desertification Research Centre (CIDE, CSIC-UV-GVA), it was a long way to go. The opportunity linked to the topic, the existence of research groups already consolidated and with an important national and international trajectory, and the willingness of different institutions allowed to act in synergy with groups with thematic affinities, and to achieve a critical mass of sufficient researchers to materialize this project. In its favor, there were many people -in the institutional framework of the moment- who intervened in a decisive way, and without their close collaboration and willingness to cooperate, its implementation would not have been possible.

The CIDE was initially located in Albal in 1996 and in May 2011 it moved to the campus of the Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias (IVIA) in Moncada, where it is currently located.