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Conserving Dryland Biodiversity offers a first comprehensive analysis and some large-scale community-level solutions

​​By Jonathan Davis, International Union for Conservation of Nature

10/09/2012. The launch of the publication, Conserving Dryland Biodiversity, took place at the World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Republic of Korea, yesterday.  It was published to shine a light on the wonderful biodiversity of drylands and the cultural diversity that makes its conservation possible.

The book illustrates how incredibly varied dryland biodiversity is, how uniquely adapted it is, how dryland cultures have adapted to it, and the role that those cultures play in its conservation. This is the first comprehensive analysis of the global importance and significance of drylands biodiversity.

It is the product of collaboration between several institutions and many different actors, and a testimony to how the Union –IUCN – works. The book was jointly developed by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  The World Commission on Protected Areas, as well as members of CEESP and CEM and many other contributors also enriched the book with their experiences and case studies.

Conserving Drylands Biodiversity presents many new analyses of data on dryland biodiversity, demonstrates the constraints of data shortages and illustrates the need for much greater attention to understanding and conserving dryland biodiversity. Strategies for conservation of dryland biodiversity, including examples of successful approaches to conservation are presented.

It lays a strong emphasis on community-based solutions and Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas, or ICCAs. It also presents examples of sustainable land management as mechanisms for conserving biodiversity. This is essential if we are to achieve conservation goals on a large scale without competing against food production in a rapidly developing world.

The book outlines a vision of the future for drylands: one in which biodiversity management and landscape connectivity are taken into account in agricultural development; in which green growth is adapted to the realities of drylands and; in which land is conserved to secure food and water provision.

 This is a future in which the extreme climatic uncertainties of dryland environments are reflected in policy and planning and in which resilience and risk management are strengthened through appropriate investments.

Conserving Drylands Biodiversity also presents a strategy to attain this vision. It calls for greater investment in innovation and knowledge, greater provision of incentives and investments, significant improvements in governance and empowerment in drylands and a concerted effort to mainstream dryland biodiversity at all levels, from the farmer to government and international institutions.

Throughout, the book is peppered with examples of how this is being done around the world. There are many features and illustrations that give cause for optimism and inspiration. But it also highlights the global risks and costs of failing to translate this optimism into action at an adequate scale.

Download Conserving Dryland Biodiversity.
Download the press release issued during the launch.

For more information, contact:
Jasmin Metzler,

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