CBD Secretariat and Partners Publish Study on Valuing Biodiversity of Dry and Sub-Humid Lands

dry-and-sub-humid-landsSeptember 2013: Published by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Global Mechanism (GM) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Offering Sustainable Land-use Options (OSLO) Consortium, the technical study, titled 'Valuing the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands,' provides policy-relevant information on valuation methods in the drylands context and guidance for their use.

Circulated as CBD Technical Study no. 71, the peer-reviewed report was published as a response to the request by the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP) for a report on the value of dry and sub-humid lands, taking into account the role of pastoralists and other indigenous and local communities in the conservation and sustainable use of the biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands and their associated traditional knowledge (COP Decision X/35). The report includes an introduction on drylands biodiversity, valuation, and how valuation can help in the drylands context; and sections on: the value of drylands biodiversity and ecosystem services - current state of economic information; filling knowledge gaps - conducting valuation studies; and using valuation information in policy-making.

The report concludes that dryland ecosystems are the result of centuries of human-animal-environment interaction, largely by pastoral groups. It is noted that the economic literature reviewed demonstrates that much of the value of drylands biodiversity is derived from its direct and indirect "use," while the "societal value" of biodiversity is a function of these uses, from local to global. Many people in the drylands pursue livelihoods that conserve biodiversity in innovative ways, but well-managed pastoralism has the possibility of making a difference for many more.

Drylands agriculture, following sustainable land management practices, can also contribute to positive socioeconomic and biodiversity outcomes. Because they are economically and culturally viable, the probability is that, given the opportunity, dryland ecosystems will be conserved informally by communities living in the area. Many traditional land management practices have proven to be more economically viable than "modern" alternatives, and simultaneously provide conservation benefits. When market failures occur, however, opportunities arise to revisit policies and see what needs to be adjusted.

The report was launched during the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). [Publication: CBD Technical Series No.71: Valuing the Biodiversity of Dry and Sub-humid Lands]