Apathy, ignorance, and poor governance: the three-headed Hydra of drylands

TitleApathy, ignorance, and poor governance: the three-headed Hydra of drylands
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBestelmeyer B
Conference NameEcological Society of America Annual Meeting
Date Published08/2017
PublisherEcological Society of America Annual Meeting
Conference LocationPortland, OR
ARIS Log Number345321
Abstract

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.