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Dryland Forestry

Dryland Restoration Initiative

Forests in drylands play a significant role in conserving biodiversity, harboring unique and endemic species that are particularly adapted to extreme ecological conditions and providing ecosystem good and services that are essential for people’s livelihoods and well-being. If well managed and properly valued, they have the potential to help tackle such global challenges as poverty, climate change, erosion and desertification. By supporting the millions of people who live in the world’s dry areas, they can ultimately contribute to the FAO mandate of achieving food security.

Yet dryland forests are caught in a spiral of deforestation, fragmentation, degradation and desertification, driven by interrelated and complex factors such as adverse land-use policies and subsidies, poor governance and a general lack of understanding of the importance and vulnerability of these ecosystems, coupled with a lack of investment in their sustainable management and restoration. Moreover, along with desertification, climate change-related phenomena are a huge, and growing concern in drylands. The decrease in rainfall and increase in extreme weather conditions predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will lead to severe water scarcity and are likely to cause a vicious circle of land and forest degradation, leading to unsustainable livelihoods in rural and urban areas.