Designing a public web-based information system to illustrate and disseminate the development and results of the DESIRE Project to combat desertification

Environ Manage. 2014 Nov;54(5):1043-55. doi: 10.1007/s00267-013-0069-x. Epub 2013 May 25.


Until around 1995 it was challenging to make the scientific results of research projects publicly available except through presentations at meetings or conferences, or as papers in academic journals. Then it began to be clear that the Internet could become the main medium to publish and share new information with a much wider audience. The DESIRE Project (desertification mitigation and remediation of land-a global approach for local solutions) has built on expertise gained in previous projects to develop an innovative online 'Harmonized Information System' (HIS). This documents the context, delivery and evaluation of all tasks in the DESIRE Project using non-scientific terminology, with much of it also available in the local languages of the study sites. The DESIRE-HIS makes use of new possibilities for communication, including video clips, interactive tools, and links to social media networks such as Twitter. Dissemination of research results using this approach has required careful planning and design. This paper sets out the steps that have culminated in a complete online Information System about local solutions to global land management problems in desertification-affected areas, including many practical guidelines for responsible land management. As many of those who are affected by desertification do not have Internet access, printable dissemination materials are also available on the DESIRE-HIS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Participation / methods
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / trends
  • Desert Climate
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internet*
  • Research
  • Social Media