The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is observed every June 17th to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. This year the theme was “Land has true value. Invest in it.”

Over the years, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a 1300-strong membership Union uniquely composed of both government and community organisations, has focused its efforts on advocating for sustainable land management through various approaches in drylands. This has included advocating for policies that support sustainable land management, working with local communities to promote these sustainable approaches and by then showcasing these various approaches to the wider population.

According to a new IUCN publication entitled ‘Soil Biodiversity and Soil Organic Carbon: keeping drylands alive‘, soil biodiversity and soil organic carbon are vital to the way ecosystems function and they largely determine the value of land in producing food, storing water, and mitigating climate change. This publication was developed to address the gap in awareness of the relationship between soil biodiversity and soil organic carbon, particularly in drylands, and the role of soil biodiversity in the provision of ecosystem services.

Further information about the World Day to Combat Desertification can be found on the IUCN website while the publication itself can be downloaded here.