Book Chapter
The Management of Drylands

Drylands are the hyperarid, arid, semi-arid, and sub-humid zones of the world. In the context of sustainable development, we are concerned less with deserts but more with dryland areas where rainfed cropping is possible and such cropping needs to support significant numbers of people in an economically viable manner. This chapter explores the physical processes, the adaptive strategies of individuals faced with the challenge of dry areas, the economic environment within which these strategies have evolved, and some possible policy responses to achieve sustainable development. The chapter is based predominantly on the African experience and is aimed at the developing-country context. It offers different reasons to show how various policies have led to the lack of incentives for sustainable use by mechanized farmers. Twelve high-priority institutional and research needs are identified.