Rangelands are recognized for their importance and value in providing society with valuable products and ecosystem services. In such ecosystems, effective management is needed for sustainable plant growth and survival in a context characterized by rainfall unreliability, poor soil nutrient status and high uncontrolled grazing. Therefore, cost-effective techniques/tools for slowing down and eventually reversing this degradation are needed. This paper promotes identifying and combining various tools for degraded arid ecosystems as strategies aimed for rangeland restoration/ rehabilitation. These strategies are founded on science-based evidence and experienced practitioners. For arid rangelands, the preference of applying an isolated rehabilitation technology may not halt degradation since the heterogeneity of the geomorphology, even at micro scale, and the landscape requires very often the use of different tools. For instance, direct seeding in degraded rangelands needs to be combined with soil scarification, when the crust dominates the soil surface, to reactivate the soil water retention and increase seedling emergence and germination possibilities. To achieve this goal, rehabilitation options identified for a specific degraded rangeland need to be holistically integrated with land degradation indicators in a manual-style decision support system for the long-term sustainable production of rangelands in arid environments.
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The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) was established in 1977. It is one of 15 such centers supported by the CGIAR. ICARDA’s founding mandate to promote agricultural development in the dry areas of developing countries remains highly relevant today.