Wetlands in Drylands: ?Hotspots? of Ecosystem Services in Marginal Environments

Many of the world’s extensive drylands host permanent and temporary wetlands, including features as diverse as floodplains, marshes, swamps, pans and oases. Their presence in climatically variable, moisture stressed environments means that these wetlands are key providers (‘hotspots’) of ecosystem services, including water and food supply. Land use, population and climate change threatens the functioning of many wetlands in drylands, however, and interdisciplinary scientific studies of the implications for ecosystem services are
urgently needed to support sustainable development planning. This brief provides an overview of the state of scientific understanding of wetlands in drylands and their ecosystem services, and identifies key knowledge gaps and data requirements. This will provide the basis for informed discussion among policy makers as part of their preparations for the 2015 Global Sustainable Development Report.

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