Pastoral transhumance, Iran

IUCN Global Drylands Initiative

Conserving and sustainably managing drylands for the well-being of society

Drylands support one third of the Global Conservation Hotspot Area and are home to 28% of endangered species. They cover 41% of all land and include unique habitats such as Savannahs, mist forests and oases: these include high-value resource patches that are crucial for the survival of vast ecosystems and for long-range species migration that characterise the drylands. 

Drylands also provide ecosystem services that are enjoyed locally and globally. They provide fodder, food, fuel and other goods that are used to create resilient livelihoods. They regulate climate locally, through provision of shade and shelter, and globally through capture and storage of carbon: globally, 36% of terrestrial carbon is stored in drylands, mostly in dryland soils. Despite their aridity, they include globally important water sheds that supply clean water to millions of people, and they regulate flows and mitigate flood and drought risks. Read More


Land Degradation Neutrality: Implications and opportunities for conservation Nature Based Solutions to Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought

Yurt among green hills, Kazakhstan. Photo credit: Vasca

Land Degradation is a global concern for sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity and mitigating and adapting to climate change. Land degradation refers to reduction or loss of the biological or economic productivity and complexity of land. Land degradation processes reduce carbon storage in soil and vegetation and drive the loss of biodiversity and climate change. It is vital that land degradation receives adequate attention from the nature conservation community, and that it is addressed proactively in the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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Agdal in Morocco

HOMING IN ON THE RANGE: Enabling Investments for Sustainable Land Management

Rangelands are places of important biodiversity and ecosystem services that occupy up to half of all land and up to three quarters of the world’s drylands, providing benefits to local communities, to economies and to global society. Desertification, or land degradation in the drylands, significantly affects rangelands, but in many countries measures to address rangeland degradation are weak or absent. Furthermore, evidence on the current health of rangelands is absent in most countries and this is contributing to inappropriate investments and policies that in turn can lead to desertification and poverty.



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