Deserted biodiversity

Why pastoralists need help to conserve livestock biodiversity
Old myths can die hard.

Many policy makers still think that desertification is caused by overgrazing by irresponsible pastoralists – even though scientists have shown that keeping large numbers of livestock is the most productive and sustainable use for drylands.

The World Day to Combat Desertification, 17 June 2006, is an ideal time to focus on the important, but little-recognized, role that pastoralists play in conserving the world’s livestock biodiversity. This role is being threatened by the expansion of crop agriculture into grazing lands and the spread of “livestock monocultures” of high-yielding, but high-input breeds.

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