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The layout of this document originates from overview documents presented at the FAO Expert Consultation on the Role of Forestry in Combating Desertification which took place from 24 to 28 June in Saltillo, Mexico as a satellite meeting to the Ninth World Forestry Congress.

A summary report containing the recommendations and action proposals to enhance the role of forestry in rural development and the fight against desertification was published in 1985. This has generated a number of requests for the Consultation's papers and overview documents which could not be met from the available copies in hand. The synthesis and publication of these overviews proved essential, first to meet the increasing present demand for information on dry land forestry experiences, and second to serve as a guide to better orientate future development programmes at the national, regional and global levels in this field.

To this end, this document was prepared and organized into 5 sections:

Action proposals for each area are identified.

This document, while summarizing the state of knowledge and experiences in the various arid regions of the world, should be completed with specific practices for particular areas by consulting special references for individual regions, many of which are listed in the extensive bibliography provided at the end of each paper in section III.

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