Statement from Dr. Bradnee Chambers Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals On the World Day to Combat Desertification 2013
I gladly join the efforts to draw the attention to the importance of conserving dryland ecosystems and their integrity, not least because they support migratory species.Drylands, covering more than 40 per cent of the Earth’s land mass, are characterized by water scarcity and therefore greatly affected by changes in the availability of water. Despite their aridity, drylands host rich biodiversity which is highly adapted to extreme climatic conditions. Over the millennia, species have developed amazing mechanisms to adapt to extended periods of drought including the ability to escape, evade, resist and endure. Some animals’ movements are dictated by the availability of water.
Therefore, we observe long-distance migrations as a common feature of drylands.Migratory species are habitat specialists. By making the most of briefly-available resources such as the rich seasonal growth
found in many desert oases and wet patches, and moving on to avoid deteriorating conditions, they are skilled survivors. Migratory wildlife shares the use of land and water with livestock and people. Their wealth is interlinked. Lack of water and land degradation can severely alter the fragile balance of dryland ecosystems.
Concerted actions are needed to improve the conditions of these ecosystems. CMS is delighted to be part of a broad community which develops networks of cooperation and collaboration that help us to build
a prosperous future for mankind and the species alike.