FAO forestry newsroom
Innovative forestry approaches needed to boost food security in drylands
©La Belle Lumière23 November 2021, Rome – Boosting the capacity of forests and agrosilvopastoral systems in drylands to alleviate poverty and contribute to food security was the focus of an FAO expert meeting this month.
Hosted by Tanzania, the Second Session of the Committee on Forestry's Working Group on Dryland Forests and Agrosilvopastoral Systems was attend by about 40 member countries, as well as non-member countries, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations.
Drylands cover 41 percent of the world’s land area and are home to two billion people, many of whom depend on forests, other wooded lands and grasslands for their livelihoods and to meet basic needs.
However, these ecosystems face threats from drought, desertification, land-use change and climate change, with serious implications for the food security and well-being of communities.
Among solutions explored at this week’s session was the potential for grazing livestock to help maintain and restore productive forests and rangelands in dryland regions.
While forestry and livestock production have traditionally been seen as conflicting land uses, silvopastoralism, which integrates the management of trees and livestock, should be more widely promoted, the meeting highlighted. The Working Group members agreed to support the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists in 2026 by mobilizing and deploying their cross-regional expertise and promoting innovative and inter-connected sustainable agrosilvopastoral systems.
The session also underlined that urban forestry and urban greening activities are key tools to address climate change and improve resilience in dryland cities.
FAO’s new Green Urban Oases Programme will work in Africa, Asia, and the Near East and North Africa to strengthen the overall resilience of ‘desert cities’, as well as to reduce the impact of urbanization on biodiversity and the surrounding natural environment, the meeting heard.
Participants agreed on priority areas for action over the next two years to strengthen the role of the Working Group in the global agenda on sustainable management of dryland forests and agrosilvopastoral systems.