Traversing the Wasteland: A Framework for Assessing Ecological Threats to Drylands

David L. Hoover, Brandon Bestelmeyer, Nancy B. Grimm, Travis E. Huxman, Sasha C. Reed, Osvaldo Sala, Timothy R. Seastedt, Hailey Wilmer, Scott Ferrenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drylands cover 41% of the Earth's terrestrial surface, play a critical role in global ecosystem function, and are home to over two billion people. Like other biomes, drylands face increasing pressure from global change, but many of these ecosystems are close to tipping points, which, if crossed, can lead to abrupt transitions and persistent degraded states. Their limited but variable precipitation, low soil fertility, and low productivity have given rise to a perception that drylands are wastelands, needing societal intervention to bring value to them. Negative perceptions of drylands synergistically combine with conflicting sociocultural values regarding what constitutes a threat to these ecosystems. In the present article, we propose a framework for assessing threats to dryland ecosystems and suggest we must also combat the negative perceptions of drylands in order to preserve the ecosystem services that they offer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalBioScience
Volume70
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • arid
  • global change
  • perception
  • semiarid
  • vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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  • Cite this

    Hoover, D. L., Bestelmeyer, B., Grimm, N. B., Huxman, T. E., Reed, S. C., Sala, O., Seastedt, T. R., Wilmer, H., & Ferrenberg, S. (2020). Traversing the Wasteland: A Framework for Assessing Ecological Threats to Drylands. BioScience, 70(1), 35-47. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz126