Specialisation process for a soil and water bioengineering sector in the Mediterranean environment.

Project Details


Landslides, erosion, and floods are natural processes which negatively affect the productivity of land and ecosystem’s dynamics and increase soil loss and land degradation. The direct causes of these phenomena are region- specific. Climate change, including changes in short-term variation, as well as long-term gradual changes in temperature, precipitation and sea level rise, is expected to be an additional stress on rates of soil loss.
Soil- and fluvial ecoengineering are sustainable tools to improve resilience against soil loss and soil degradation. These techniques are widely used in Atlantic and Eurasian ecoregions and are gaining strength within the Mediterranean regions. Ecoengineering techniques are also useful to protect natural riparian areas affected by rapid environmental changes. Ecoengineering works have a clear dynamic response. At first the initial rigidity is offered by the inert materials. Eventually, as time progresses, the vegetation will play the major role in the stabilization of the site. Because of this, a monitoring scheme must be included in the work schedule in order to verify the successes and errors of the intervention and justify potential corrective action. The difficulties faced by this kind of works in a Mediterranean climate demands a highly specialised knowledge triangle (new processes, methods and services) within the sector. Apart from this, the particularities of this type of works demand comparisons between the original and the current state of the construction site in terms of biodiversity, soil evolution, plant anchorage, ecosystem resilience, etc. The solution to this situation can be addressed by both implementing a monitoring stage in the works and generating a knowledge transfer network involving the Mediterranean stakeholders. Currently, there is an absence of the preceding tools and therefore one of the purposes behind ECOMED is covering these gaps.
Typically, plants and parts of plants are used as living building materials, in such a way that, through their development in combination with inert materials (e.g. soil, rock, timber), ensuring a significant contribution to the long-term protection and mitigation against all forms of soil loss and erosion. The use of these living materials in Mediterranean environments involves many difficulties, notwithstanding the climate, that are not present in Atlantic and Continental regions from where the current research and publications are mainly originated. This issue has not been addressed yet in a knowledge transfer functioning scheme. Good practice examples and guidelines specific to the Mediterranean region are lacking in current training syllabus and routines. The analysis of the ecoengineering works evolution by studying the current state of existing ecoengineering works is at the same time the major missing point in the Mediterranean scenarios, and the most important source of information for the needs of the professional specialization which is another gap that the current project is trying to cover.
In order to improve the specialization level of the ecoengineering sector in Mediterranean areas either an enhanced syllabus must be offered in HE centres or monitoring of the existing construction sites are needed. Within this context, the consortium of this project offers to provide a sound and practical knowledge based on the accumulated experience in order to offer to the next generation of practitioners and managers a solid and well suited training in ecoengineering restoration techniques in Mediterranean scenarios. This is needed because there is no specialised training offered in ecoengineering in most of the Mediterranean countries and there is a serious shortage of staff specialised in the technology enhanced restoration of degraded land in Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Turkey and Macedonia.

Layman's description

Ecoengineering is a technical and scientific discipline that combines technology and biology, making use of plants and plant communities for protecting soil and infrastructures, and contribute to landscape development. It matches technical (protection and stabilisation), ecological (eco-systemic restoration), landscape (improve the landscape integration) and socioeconomic (more efficient and source of employment). The aim of this project is to generate a sector-specific theoretical and practical syllabus essential for the specialization process of the Mediterranean Ecoengineering sector. Also, to jointly develop a long term interaction scheme among the stakeholders of the ecoengineering sector and to deliver a training courses programme technology enhanced in “Soil and Fluvial ecoengineering, Hazard Assessment and Techniques Selection in Mediterranean Environment”. This new syllabus will be generated during the implementation of the long term strategy of the proposal “Specialisation process for the ecoengineering sector in the Mediterranean environment (ECOMED)”.
Effective start/end date19/01/1719/01/19


  • European Commission: £507,076.00

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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