An open-source database on the environmental and cultural state and future
development of oases.
Drylands cover 41.3% of the global land surface, containing at least 30% of the world’s cultivated plants and livestock and being considered a significant genetic reservoir. Surface water in drylands is scarce and, when available, usually proceeds from old groundwater deposits. Water availability is a precondition for the presence of oases. Oases are isolated vegetated areas, surrounded by drylands, having a (largely) persistent water supply, of natural or human origin and often with human presence, with a specific microclimate and vegetation structure which facilitates high biocultural diversity. Drylands, including oases, contain a unique biological and cultural diversity, are the origin of important crop species, and build pivotal genetic reservoirs. Overall, oases are key ecosystems of global biological, ecological and cultural importance; at the same time they are highly threatened ecosystems that deserve major attention in future conservation and management planning. We are creating an open-source database (S-Oases) on oases with extensive bibliographical research. The goal is to delineate oases, study the biocultural diversity and create an open source database to allow any researcher to obtain information about those special ecosystems.