World Day to Combat Desertification: Forests keep drylands working

World Day to Combat Desertification: Forests keep drylands working



17 June 2011

About 2 billion people inhabit the “dryland” areas of the world which cover more than 40% of the globe and include the tropical dry forest, the Brazilian Cerrado and the Mediterranean woodlands.

However, these ecosystems are under pressure from climate change and growing populations and human activities. The clearing of vegetation in the drylands can quickly lead to land degradation and desertification.

Given that the United Nations has designated 2011 as the International Year of Forests, the U.N. Convention to combat Desertification (UNCCD) has chosen “Forests Keep drylands working” as the theme for the World Day to Combat Desertification. It says that forests may become the single most important determinant of the future sustainability of the drylands as the impacts of climate change escalate. Yet, only 18% of the drylands is forested. UNCCD is calling on inhabitants of the drylands to plant a tree in a degraded area to stem the spread of desertification.

WMO has been a partner with UNCCD over the years on various issues, especially management of drought to improve food security.

WMO’s Congress (16 May-3 June) endorsed a Global Framework on Climate Services to help improve the provision of climate information to countries and communities which need it most. The Global Framework will assist humid or dryland forest managers in accessing and understanding climate data, seasonal climate forecasts, and other climate products to improve sustainable management of forests and their ecosystems for future generations.


More information

WMO Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory  and Assessment System

U.N. Convention to combat Desertification

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