Welcome to the website of
the UNESCO Chair for Desert Studies and Desertification control, Yarmouk University.
Dr. Eng. Ahmed Al-Taani
In 1994, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has awarded Yarmouk University the UNESCO Chair for Desert Studies and Desertification Control. The Chair is one of the earliest University Chairs to be established in Jordan and in the Middle East region.
The Chair was established in response to the growing concern about desertification problem in Jordan and the national keen interest to alleviate its impacts on natural resources. The Chair is involved in research and teaching activities, and has developed bi- and multi-lateral relationships with other interested parties at the local, regional and international levels. These relationships are employed towards developing joint research projects, and exchanging experiences and technical expertise. The Chair is interested in doing research in desert ecology, agro geology, desertification, climate change and hydrological studies.
The Chair was involved in investigating groundwater recharge in the alluvial wadis of the Jordanian badia. The first phase of this work has been funded by the International Development Research Centre (Canada), and involved identifying shallow groundwater resources in the study area using remote sensing and geophysical techniques. Chemical and isotopic techniques have been used to quantify recharge to these aquifers. The second phase of the project was a joint research between the Desert Research Institute in Nevada (USA) and Yarmouk University, which was funded by the International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC) .This work involved digging exploratory wells and investigating climatic and surface hydrologic aspects of this system.
DNA of desert vegetation has been also studied in order to characterize the genetic makeup of specific species. The work was funded by the UNESCO.
The Chair has also been involved in other projects including characterizing the Upper Aquifer of the Azraq basin using chemical and isotopic techniques, and a project focusing on climatic changes in the region as deduced by the study of the sediments of the playas of the badia area.
The Chair has organized a number of conferences and workshops focusing on various issues related to desert environments. These include three international conferences in 1996, 1998 and 2007, and many workshops and seminars. These activities helped increase awareness of the problems of arid environments and develop network of partnerships.
The Chair has been active in the field of faculty exchange, hosting a Fulbright Scholar for the academic year 1999-2000. In addition, the Chair hosted an number of scholars from Iraq who were interested in working in Jordan and catching up on the latest scientific advances which are difficult to access inside Iraq. hosted a German research team from the University of Aachen (RWTH Aachen) in 2011. The team was engaged in studying the climate changes and the evolution and origin of human in the region. The Chair director also participated in the Spaceward Bound program took place in the Mojave Desert, USA. In addition, the Chair hosted a delegation from NASA and the Desert Research Institute, USA to prepare for a joint research project in the Jordanian Badia about “Jordanian Desert Analogs For Mars: a joint study among Yarmouk University, NASA and DRI”.
A Jordanian scholar spent a sabbatical year in the Desert Research Institute in the United States in the academic year 1999-2000 as a result of the contacts of the Chair. The Chair has also been instrumental in sending a number of promising students to complete their Ph.D.’s in the US.
This website is dedicated to providing information and insight into the Chair's duties, activities, projects, research results and publications, and achievements.
- The Chair in Brief
- Field of Interest
- Coordination and Cooperation at the University Level