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It's in our hands - the future of drylands

Drylands cover more than 40% of the earth’s land surface and are home to more than a third of the global population, many of whom are the world’s poorest people. Found on every continent, drylands are regions where water is scarce and rainfall is highly variable. Widely perceived as wastelands, the truth is that drylands are immensely important, providing water, food, animal fodder, fuel wood, shelter and medicines to millions.

> Read more
> Read Jonathan Davies' article about the potential of drylands
Jonathan Davies

Drylands challenges

Poul Engberg-Pedersen

IUCN Deputy Director General talks about the importance of drylands and the challenges of conserving them.

> Watch Poul Engberg-Pedersen's interview

Easing the pressure

Woman from Kilo 26 refugee camp in Sudan

The Dadaab refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya, the biggest in the world, is vastly overstretched due to an influx of people fleeing conflict in the wider Eastern Africa region. The local environment is equally feeling the strain.

> Read full story

Dispelling the myth

j. Davies

Dr Jonathan Davies is charged with coordinating IUCN’s efforts to secure a future for the world’s drylands—no mean feat considering that drylands cover more than 40% of the earth’s land surface.

> Read full story

Striking a balance

Conserving the grasslands of northern Kenya for people and wildlife

There’s a growing realisation that successful conservation comes from involving the people who live with and depend on nature. In northern Kenya, IUCN and partners are helping to secure a future for the endangered Grevy’s zebra and the people who share a land with this iconic species.

> Read full story

Jewels of the Kalahari

Slices of dried Devil´s Claw tubers in the hands of a local harvester, Botswana

For poor people living in the drylands of Southern Africa, sustainably harvesting and marketing a range of valuable natural products could help lift their fortunes.

> Read full story

Test your knowledge

Gum Arabic Hashab. Sudan How much do you know about drylands?
> Take our quiz on Facebook and challenge your friends!
> Take the quiz on our website


Facts and figures

Kenya's wildlife Drylands at a glance.
> Read more


A tour of the world's drylands

Tadrart desert, Algeria Browse our photo galleries!
> World's drylands
> A new destiny for our drylands
> Kenya's wildlife in close-up



Check here for selected publications about drylands, or search our catalogue.
> Selected Publications
> Search catalogue


Turtles in trouble

Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) New global study assesses the health of sea turtles.
> Read more


IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature © 2011

IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

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Photo credits: Header banner © Ewa Magiera; Expert © IUCN; drylands challenges © IUCN; easing the pressure © Intisar E. Elterafi; Dispelling the myth © IUCN; striking a balance © Grevy's Zebra Trust; Jewels of the Kalahari © Brigitte Schuster; quiz © E.Barrow; Facts and figures © Rafal Obrzud; photo gallery © Catherine Gras ; Other news © Gary Rinaldi.