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More than 200 million people living in dryland regions of Sub-Saharan Africa make their living from agriculture. Most are exposed to weather shocks, especially drought, that can decimate their incomes, destroy their assets, and plunge them into a poverty trap from which it is difficult to emerge.

For the first time, this United Nations report details the number of trees, forests and how the land is used in the world’s drylands. The findings could be used to track progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and help fight climate change.

Although ecological restoration is widely used to combat environmental degradation, very few studies have evaluated the cost-effectiveness of this approach. We examine the potential impact of forest restoration on the value of multiple ecosystem services across four dryland areas in Latin America, by estimating the net value of ecosystem service benefits under different reforestation scenarios. The values of selected ecosystem services were mapped under each scenario, supported by the use of a spatially explicit model of forest dynamics.

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