People in marginal drylands. Managing natural resources to improve human well-being | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
December 2008
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

Change in land management practices and governmental policies is urgently needed to reverse the continuing decline of marginal drylands. Marginal drylands are fragile ecosystems that sustain the livelihoods of millions of poor people in developing countries. However, their capacity to provide these services is continuously declining due to desertification, resulting in dwindling land productivity, and affecting human well-being and development opportunities in many marginal drylands.

Integrated natural resource management is the key to reducing poverty and achieving sustainable management in marginal drylands. The complexity of challenges in marginal drylands demands that strategies must be holistic and aim to alleviate wide-spread poverty, improve human well-being, restore ecosystem services and increase agricultural productivity. Their efficiency is primarily derived from diversification of income opportunities beyond traditional livelihoods coupled with empowerment and enhanced adaptive capacity of local land users.

International investments to help create an enabling policy environment are needed to mobilize action at the global scale.
The international community, but also national governments, need to place sufficient resources at the disposal of institutions to develop and enforce coherent and integrated policy approaches across different levels. These policies must be better informed by available scientific knowledge and expertise on dryland management. Compelling arguments for these investments are the multiple benefits achieved by overcoming desertification. These include improved adaptation to climate change, mitigation of biodiversity losses, as well as poverty alleviation.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Adeel, Zafar
King, Caroline
Schaaf, Thomas
Thomas, Richard
Schuster, Brigitte

Data provider

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.


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