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Conserving the fragile beauty of dry areas

Jun 05,2017

A protected plot on a degraded hillside in the Vazrob Valley, Tajikistan

“Connecting People to Nature” is the theme for 2017’s World Environment Day. On this day, ICARDA, as a global organization working in over 50 countries across the world’s dry areas, joins the call to get into nature and appreciate its beauty and importance.

The dry areas cover almost half of the Earth’s land surface, are used to grow 44% of the world’s food, and support 50% of its livestock. Inhabited by 30% of the global population (2.5 billion), the dry areas are also home to a majority of the world’s poor.

However, communities face a number of constraints: scarce water resources, drought, land degradation, unemployment and malnutrition. Dry areas lose 23 hectares per minute due to drought and desertification – equating to a loss of 20 million tons of potential grain production every year.

Despite this, the dry areas also represent some of the world’s most amazing landscapes. On World Environment Day we would like to share some of these landscapes with you, depicting regions where ICARDA is working to conserve their fragile beauty.

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Field view in Rabat, Morocco, photo by Chandrashekhar Biradar

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Spring in Jordan, photo by Chandrashekhar Biradar

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A low-cost farm pond in Mr Gopal’s farm in Mallapuram, Andhra Pradesh

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Planting pistachios in Tashkent Province, Uzbekistan

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Trials of drought tolerant beans in Malawi. Photo by Neil Palmer (CIAT).

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Building resilience for smallholder farmers in marginal drylands

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Cactus-crop alley cropping

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Garden in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan

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Fruit trees on the hills of Osh Province, Kyrgyzstan

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Winter barley field, Jordan, photo by  Chandrashekhar Biradar