Rangeland rehabilitation in the southern part of the Mediterranean basin
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Rangelands of the southern part of the Mediterranean basin have for centuries provided forage for livestock and wildlife. Now their role as providers of ecosystem services and goods is being widely recognized by local governments and international organizations. But the widespread degraded ecological status of rangelands is causing increasing concern. Over-exploitation of rangeland resources, land tenure issues, conversion of rangelands into rainfed cropping systems, and climate change including drought are the main drivers for this degradation. Several governments are becoming increasingly aware of the magnitude of the problem and have begun to address the root causes through holistic approaches. However, there are major challenges in tackling the issue: the importance of rangelands is generally marginalized, conservation measures are incomplete and often ineffective for the sustainable restoration of degraded rangeland resources. In addition, given the low and slow return on investment, governments are not able to finance large-scale projects to effectively restore and develop rangeland natural resources. Nonetheless, there are ways to improve the situation. In this paper, we propose how to go about this. Not least, we outline how understanding and managing the constraints to widespread adoption of sustainable practices is key to the successful out-scaling of interventions with known potential.