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An Ecosystem Approach to Drylands

Building Support for New Development Policies

Examines current issues surrounding dryland management policies and the livelihoods of people who live in dryland areas.

Executive Summary

The world's drylands are remarkable ecosystems. Encompassing grasslands, agricultural lands, forests, and urban areas, they make up about 40 percent of the world's land area. Drylands are home to nearly 2 billion people.

While many of these dryland dwellers are livestock herders and small-scale farmers, others live more urbanized lifestyles in growing urban centers such as Cairo, Cape Town, Mexico City, Phoenix, and Teheran.

This policy brief examines current issues surrounding dryland management policies and the livelihoods of people who live in dryland areas. The report presents the ecosystem goods and services approach as a powerful tool to help increase support for improving the livelihoods of people living in drylands.

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