IGN 15-5 - Apathy, ignorance and poor governance: The three-headed Hydra of drylands

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
C123, Oregon Convention Center
Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, Jornada Experimental Range, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Las Cruces, NM
Proximate threats to drylands include drivers such as overharvesting or land conversion. I argue that these proximate threats are ultimately related to popular and scientific perceptions of drylands and, consequently, how investments translate into governance. First, what is degradation in drylands? Scientists debate this topic and the public often doesn’t care. Second, if a dryland is judged to be degraded, what should we do about it? Ignorance of social and ecological processes can lead to actions (or inactions) that make things worse. To better manage drylands, we need to popularize their importance and improve models of how they function.