Forestería en las tierras secas

First Drylands Summer School ignites global collaboration in combatting dryland challenges


The inaugural Drylands Summer School, organized by the Committee on Forestry Working Group (COFO WG) in partnership with prestigious institutions worldwide, brought together participants from across the world to address the challenges associated with managing dryland forests and agrosilvopastoral resources.

A total of 21 champions from various disciplinary backgrounds came together to participate in the First Drylands Summer School. The school aimed to bridge the gap between awareness and effective interventions for the sustainable management of dryland ecosystems, creating a network of dedicated champions committed to transforming the management of dryland forests and agrosilvopastoral systems worldwide ahead of the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists in 2026. 

"Our goal is to build a team of champions who can catalyze global efforts to manage dryland forests and agrosilvopastoral systems sustainably,” said Fidaa Haddad, Secretary of the COFO WG. “This event provided a unique opportunity for experts from diverse backgrounds to come together, share knowledge, and learn from each other.”

The COFO WG partnered with academic institutions including the University of Jordan, Jordan University of Science and Technology, the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, Agricultural Research Council of South Africa, and the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) to run a packed four-day programme of lectures. Topics included the benefits of South-South knowledge sharing in tackling dryland issues, potential transformation pathways, gender-responsive approaches for dryland production systems, and the economic valuation of transformational interventions. 

Participants also had the opportunity to engage in practical fieldwork, conducting a stakeholder analysis of the Community-Based Rangeland Rehabilitation (CBRR) program at the Royal Botanical Garden in Jordan. This program, developed in collaboration with local herding families, aims to improve sustainable rangeland management and enhance local livelihoods. During the fieldwork, attendees gained a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by dryland ecosystems, the importance of local contexts, and the trade-offs and synergies associated with transformational actions. 

“The summer school was a great opportunity to meet people working on the same topics around the globe and to build potential collaboration,” said one of the Summer School participants.

As the First Drylands Summer School concludes on a high note, plans for a second edition in 2024 are already underway. The World Forestry Centre (ICRAF) has already offered to host the event in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Third Edition in 2025 will take place in Australia. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting opportunity to further advance global collaboration in addressing dryland challenges and promoting sustainable practices!