Drylands cover 41 percent of the Earth's land surface. This publication presents the results of the first global assessment of trees, forests and land use in these lands. The assessment breaks new methodological ground: it relies on the visual interpreation of freely available satellite images, carried out by more than 200 experts in a series of regional workshops. Using a tool called Open Foris ollect Earth, developed by FAO in collaboration with Google, participants gathered and analysed information for mrore than 200 000 sample plots worldwide.

For each region, the report summarizes the distribution of forests, other wooded land and other land uses including grasslands, croplands, built-up areas and barren land, across all drylands and by aridity zone. It also estimates tree canopy cover, shrub cover, forest type and presence of trees outside forest. Indicatng that the global drylands contain more than one-quarter of the world's forest area, and that trees are present on 31 percent of the world's dryland area, the report provides a baseline for future monitoring and will support countries in their efforts to identify appropriate investments for the restoration and sustainable management of drylands.

Affiliate Partner

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Type of publication


Type of Ecosystem

Farmlands and Forests

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