Drylands in the northern Mediterranean present significant challenges for efforts to preserve ecosystem services. Warming trends combined with declining and more variable summer precipitation have come with more frequent and more intense droughts, exacerbating water shortages. Depopulation from rural uplands towards urban coastal regions, with farmland abandonment, has destabilized agroecological systems. The ensuing land degradation has influenced local hydrology, erosion rates, water quality, and water quantity. Ecological restoration combined with adaptive management can be an effective approach in response to the changing climate and environment. The development of standardized monitoring and evaluation protocols on the EC REACTION project has provided powerful insights and new tools to enhance the potential for successful restoration. The integration of biophysical and socioeconomic indicators and the collaboration between researchers, managers, and decision makers make the approach effective and sustainable. Restoration in drylands can have a marked impact on water budgets through the selection of species and the influence on landscapes and vegetation patterns. Adapting to environmental change and combating land degradation in the northern Mediterranean will require understanding the tradeoffs in ecosystem services and adjusting restoration decisions in response to monitoring and evaluating both biophysical and socioeconomic metrics.