Dryland Forestry

Forestry papers

Grazing with trees

A silvopastoral approach to managing and restoring drylands with trees: Policy brief

The Grazing with trees policy brief accompanies the Grazing with Trees publication, giving an overview of the positive role that optimized extensive grazing livestock farming can play in the management and restoration of drylands’ forests and lands. Trees in dryland forests and wooded areas provide key ecosystem services such as animal feed, timber, fruits and, regulation of soil and water cycles. Equally, the presence of livestock in dryland woody areas can also play an important role in the local ecosystem; not only are they a source of income for local communities, but they also help vegetation and mobilise stored biomass. When both of these ecosystem elements are wisely combined – livestock and trees – it creates an integrated agricultural system that can boost the local ecosystem, representing a welcome agro-ecological transition.

Grazing with trees

A silvopastoral approach to managing and restoring drylands

The ‘Grazing with Trees’ report gives a thorough assessment of the positive role that optimized extensive grazing livestock farming can play in the management and restoration of drylands’ forests and lands with trees. It assesses and provides sound evidence on the benefits of applying an integrated landscape approach and utilizing farmers and pastoralists’ knowledge to halt desertification, increase resilience, and enhance food security under the actual changing scenario. The report confirms the importance of agroforestry as a primary pathway for forest restoration in dryland areas as recommended by FAO’s State of Forests 2022, and its recommendations encourage landscape planners and decision makers to consider livestock as allies, carefully restore tree cover and accelerate action to promote healthy ecosystems.

Doing no harm while doing good - Climate and conflict sensitivity in dryland humanitarian projects: Policy brief

The Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus recognizes conflict as a threat multiplier to climate change and seeks to integrate conflict sensitivity into policies and actions around natural resources. Competition for natural resources in dryland areas often leads to conflict between host communities and displaced people. The Doing No Harm While Doing Good:  Climate and Conflict Sensitivity in Dryland Humanitarian Projects policy brief evidences this fragility of ecosystems in humanitarian settings through a thorough review of three innovative projects implemented by FAO, CGIAR and CARE, consultations with Think Tank organizations in Africa and Middle East and practitioners on the ground. It argues that humanitarian interventions should both address and redress the environmental impact of displaced populations and protection of dryland natural resources must be seen as a vital part of programme implementation and aims to provide decision makers with potential ways in which the Humanitarian, Development and Peace Nexus can be implemented in relief activities in dryland ecologically fragile environments.

Trees, forests and land use in drylands: the first global assessment

Drylands cover 41 percent of the Earth's land surface. This publication presents the results of the first global assessment of trees, forests and land use in these lands. The assessment breaks new methodological ground: it relies on the visual interpretation of freely available satellite images, carried out by more than 200 experts in a series of regional workshops. Using a tool called Open Foris Collect Earth, developed by FAO in collaboration with Google, participants gathered and analysed information for more than 200 000 sample plots worldwide. For each region, the report summarizes the distribution of forests, other wooded land and other land uses including grasslands, croplands, built-up areas and barren land, across all drylands and by aridity zone. It also estimates tree canopy cover, shrub cover, forest type and presence of trees outside forest. Indicating that the global drylands contain more than one-quarter of the world's forest area, and that trees are present on 31 percent of the world's dryland area, the report provides a baseline for future monitoring and will support countries in their efforts to identify appropriate investments for the restoration and sustainable management of drylands.

Global guidelines for the restoration of degraded forests and landscapes in drylands

Building resilience and benefiting livelihoods

In 2011 and 2012, FAO member countries requested FAO to conduct a comprehensive analysis, evaluation and documentation of afforestation, reforestation and restoration projects, programmes and initiatives in drylands. In response, FAO launched the FAO Drylands Restoration Initiative with the aim of capturing, evaluating and sharing knowledge on dryland restoration. This publication is an output of this initiative, drawing lessons from the many experiences in dryland restoration worldwide. It is targeted at policymakers and other decision-makers, and dryland restoration practitioners, because both groups have the power to bring about positive change. Well-informed policymakers and decision-makers can be enablers of effective restoration efforts by providing appropriate policies, governance mechanisms and financial and other incentives.

Fighting sand encroachment - Lessons from Mauritania

One of the main challenges of desertification is encroachment of moving sands, which has devastating environmental and socio-economic impacts. Mauritania, as one of the most severely affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa, has accumulated a great deal of experience in combating sand encroachment over the past several decades. This publication synthesizes the lessons learned, particularly in the implementation of a recently concluded project for rehabilitation and extension of the Nouakchott Green Belt, carried out by FAO and the Government of Mauritania with support from the Walloon Region of Belgium.