Comparative ecological change and restoration in dryland woodlands:
identifying common problems and novel solutions in the Southern Cone of South America and the Sahel of Africa
workshop organized by Meredith Root-Bernstein (Centre d'écologie et des sciences de la conservation - CNRS - MNHN)
Wednesday 22 September 2021 from 2:30 pm to 7:15 pm.
Drylands, semi-arid woodlands and seasonally dry forests are increasingly important areas of global change dynamics (Maestre et al. 2016). Their soil and woody biomass are important for storing carbon despite the slow growth of trees in such areas. They are also increasingly subject to droughts and degradation pressures from poor management, including management that increases the intensity of wildfires, increases sedentary exploitation, and so on (UNCCD 2017). Restoration to prevent or reverse their degradation is an important issue (Newton et al. 2012). However, it is difficult to design good restoration and management programmes for dryland woodlands when we know relatively little about their natural dynamics, which are often too slow to understand from short research projects which may be conditioned in unknown ways by local historical and social factors. Much knowledge of forest dynamics and anthropogenic effects on trees and woodlands is also based on temperate and tropical forests (e.g. Rackham 2006). Consequently, comparison between dryland woodlands and forests is valuable to aid interpretation. Furthermore, comparative perspectives across the global South are rare. The comparative perspective brings numerous frameworks to light and places results in new perspectives, which can be used to develop new approaches both to understanding ecological dynamics under perturbations from climate and anthropogenic use, and approaches to restoration. The workshop will identify open questions that may be addressed from a comparative perspective, and issues where comparison across southern South America and the Sahel may lead to novel research questions, experiments, and future research and research-action collaborations.