Theme for 2011: Forests keep drylands working
A man waters a nursery plants for desertification control, in Lompoul, Senegal. (FAO Photo/Lyes Ferouki)
2011 was the International Year of Forests. While we may all know about temperate and tropical forests, we may not know about the forests of the drylands which cover cover 18% of the land in arid zones. Forests are critical to the eradication of poverty in the drylands and they are also the first step towards healing the drylands and protecting them from desertification and drought. Dryland forests are also important biodiversity sanctuaries and provide ecosystem goods such as fuel, wood for construction, medicines and herbs. Dry forests are a buffer against drought and desertification and a safety net for the poor.