Participant 5 - University of Alicante (UALI), Spain (WP4)

Institute description: The UA research group includes researchers from the Department of Ecology and the Department of Applied Mathematics. The research work of the Department of Ecology group started more than 20 years ago in the area of Ecosystem Functioning and Impacts of Disturbances, funded by several National (LUCDEME), and EC projects. In recent years, the group research has mainly focused on the study of dryland ecosystem degradation and restoration and, in collaboration with researchers from the department of Applied Mathematics, on the analysis of plant spatial patterns and their functional role in drylands. The group expertise covers a wide range of topics including plant-plant interactions, soil-plant relationships, eco-hydrology, community ecology, and spatial ecology, ecosystem assessment and participatory approaches. Most of the group research has been carried out in close collaboration with the Forest Administration, contributing to the development of best management practices in areas such as species and genotype selection for restoration, restoration techniques, and evaluation and monitoring protocols.
Role in the project: WP4 leader, participating in WPs 1-3 and 5-9.
Past experience: the group has been involved in a large number of research projects, and monitoring and outreach activities, including the EU funded projects REMECOS, LUCIFER, REDMED, REACTION, AQUADAPT, CREOAK, and PRACTICE, graduate and extension courses, and demonstration projects.

Involved personnel

  • Dr Susana Bautista Ecologist. Specialized in eco-hydrological feedbacks; desertification processes, spatial heterogeneity, dryland restoration, and indicators of restoration success. Expertise in research-project coordination. 
  • Dr Francisco Rodríguez Applied Mathematician. Expertise in the development and application of mathematical models and spatial analysis tools for ecological data. 
  • MSc Azucena Camacho Biologist. MSc and PhD candidate. Expertise in plant-soil interactions. Her research focuses on plant-plant interactions and water balances.
  • Ing. Anna M. Urgeghe Environmental engineering, PhD candidate- Expertise in soil science, hydrology and GIS. Her research focuses on feedbacks between vegetation spatial pattern and water redistribution in semiarid ecosystems

Susana Bautista is Associate Professor at the Department of Ecology of the University of Alicante (UALI) since 2002. Her research is focused on eco-hydrology, dryland degradation and desertification processes, spatial heterogeneity, dryland restoration and indicators of restoration success. She has authored 70 scientific publications and participated in 26 research projects, including 6 EC-funded projects, leading or coordinating 12 of these projects. She has been part of a number of international committees and initiatives, including the coordination of international symposia, workshops and working groups.


  • Bautista S., Orr B.J., Alloza J.A., and Vallejo V.R, 2010. Evaluation of the restoration of dryland ecosystems in the northern Mediterranean: Implications for Practice. Chapter 18. In: M-F Courel and G. Schneier-Madanes (eds.) Water in Arid and Semi-arid Zones. Advances in global change research. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 295-310. D.O.I.:10.1007/978-90-481-2776-4_18.
  • Bautista S., Aronson, J., Vallejo, R. (eds.), 2009. Land Restoration to Combat Desertification. Innovative Approaches, Quality Control and Project Evaluation. Fundación CEAM. 168 pp. ISBN: 978-84-921259-5-1.
  • Mayor A.G., Bautista S., Bellot J., 2009. Factors and interactions controlling infiltration, runoff and soil loss at the microscale in a patchy Mediterranean semiarid landscape. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34(12), 1702-1711.
  • Bautista, S., Mayor, A.G., Bourakhouadar, J., Bellot, J. 2007. Plant Spatial Pattern Predicts Hillslope Runoff and Erosion in a Semiarid Mediterranean Landscape. Ecosystems 10(6), 987-998.
  • Maestre, F. T., Rodríguez, F., Bautista, S., Cortina, J. & Bellot, J. 2005. Spatial associations and patterns of perennial vegetation in a semi-arid steppe: a multivariate geostatistics approach. Plant Ecology 179: 133-147.
  • Maestre, F.T., Bautista, S., and Cortina, J., 2003. Positive, negative and net effects in grass-shrub interactions in Mediterranean semiarid grasslands. Ecology 84(12): 3186-3197.
  • Maestre, F.T., Cortina, J., Bautista, S., Bellot, J. and Vallejo, V.R., 2003. Small-scale environmental heterogeneity and spatio-temporal dynamics of seedling establishment in a semiarid degraded ecosystem. Ecosystems 6: 630-643.