Call for articles: Land Degradation and Rangeland Management under Changing Climates

Annals of Arid Zone Research Special Issue on Land Degradation and Rangeland Management under Changing Climates

Special Issue Guest Editors

Dr. Mahesh Kumar Gaur (Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, India), and Corresponding Guest Editor (Email: maheshjeegaur@yahoo.com)

Prof. Dr. Victor R. Squires (Institute of Desertification Studies, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing, China)

1   About the Journal

Annals of Arid Zone is an official peer-reviewed publication of the Arid Zone Research Association of India. It is the only and the oldest scientific journal dedicated to the arid zone research in India since 1962. It publishes full length articles and short communications dealing with the physical, biological, and socioeconomic aspects of arid and semiarid regions. Papers on applied research dealing with desertification, management and conservation of the resources and recovery of degraded arid land are preferred. For further details: http://www.azrai.org.in/ia.htm

2   Call for Papers

In a number of countries, particularly the developing one, where rangelands are a dominant land type and critically important for livelihoods of a significant portion of the population, rangelands are degraded. It has been predicted to have a huge burden in future as the world needs to feed 9 billion populations by the turn of the 21st century, when global temperature rise is predicted to increase by 1.4 to 5.8 °C with significant inter-and intra-annual and regional variations. They are traditionally characterized by native plant communities, often associated with wildlife and/or domestic grazing, and managed by ecological rather than agronomic methods. Except Antarctica, rangeland ecosystems can be found on all continents and contributing significantly to associated social, economic, and environmental problems. There is a widely held perception that rangeland ecosystem processes and property are under the influence of climate change. The 40% of the earth’s land area, as covered by the rangelands and these are mostly found in the dryland area. These are under tremendous uncertainty due to local, regional and global pressures that can profoundly affect adaptive capability to climatic fluctuations. Drylands as such are spread over about 41% area of the earth surface wherein the farming system is characterized by approximately 300–500 mm of annual rainfall.

The climate change is not limited to one country or a continent. It is occurring across the globe as evident from droughts in Texas and flooding along the Missouri River in the United States and along the Red River in Canada. Climate change drives many stressors and interacts with many non-climatic stressors which make it difficult to forecast outcomes in any general way other than existing threats to agriculture. It is also forcing farmers to bring more and more rangelands under cultivation to increase productivity or the barest minimum insurance.

Climate change adaptation and mitigation is argued to be achieved by resorting to climate-smart practices at the field and farm scale, promoting diversity within farming systems and land uses across landscapes, and managing land use interactions to achieve synergies among a range of objectives. Rangeland is one of the age-old and time-tested practice, which sequesters greater atmospheric carbon, reduces greenhouse gas emissions like N2O by increasing nitrogen (N) use efficiency and uptake of excess N and CH4 by improving fodder quality in silvopstoral system; and makes nutrient and hydrological cycling agile due to increased SOC. Deep rooted trees allow better access to nutrients and water during droughts; increases soil porosity, reduces runoff and increases soil cover which can improve water infiltration and retention in the soil profile and thereby reduces moisture stress in low rainfall years, and during excessive soil moisture period, tree-based systems can maintain aerated soil conditions by pumping out excess water more rapidly than conventional agriculture. There is an urgent need to identify new ways of moving from land degradation towards sustainable land management through the development of economic mechanisms. Thus rangelands offers greater reduced risk and economic stability under climate change.

The changes in attitude and perception taint the optimistic view of past management in rangelands, and may better reflect the view of a modern, well-educated society which recognizes that there are costs (e.g. Morton 1993) as well as responsibilities (e.g. NRW 2008) in how our natural resources are used and managed. Further, actions relating to use of rangeland resources are now open to criticism and the involvement of many others including regional natural resource management.

Fortunately, there is enough scope for improving status of rangelands particularly in dry areas of Africa, Australia and South Asia where adaptation and mitigation mechanisms are available at the community and society level due to more reliance on traditional knowledge systems.

This was the background for the forthcoming special issue of Annals of Arid Zone on “Land Degradation and Rangeland Management under Changing Climates” to highlight its impacts and causes, and discuss problems to improve rangeland conditions as well as management approaches from different parts of the world. There is great interest in learning from success stories from research, particularly in drylands, around the world which this Special Issue aims to focus. The themes include:

  • Rangeland Degradation, Poverty, and Conflict
  • Land Degradation in Rangeland Ecosystems
  • Land use, rangeland degradation and ecological changes
  • Land degradation, stocking rates and conservation policies
  • Impact of Land Degradation on the Quality of Soils
  • Trends in Land Degradation in Non-Equilibrium Rangelands
  • Land Degradation And Desertification: Assessment, Mitigation And Remediation
  • Pastoralism, land degradation and Carbon redistribution in rangelands
  • Rangelands: Uses and Degradation
  • Estimation of Land Degradation and Climate Changes on Productivity in Rangelands
  • Economics of Land Degradation
  • Grazing Management and Land Degradation
  • Land Degradation and livelihood
  • Linkages between land-use, land degradation and poverty
  • Community Perceptions of Rangeland Degradation and Management Systems
  • Climate Variability, Climate Change and Land Degradation
  • Traditional knowledge for rangeland resource utilisation practices and
  • Desertification and Rangelands

Articles focusing on agriculture and related issues (with respect to India) will be duly considered.

3   Timeline and Submissions

  • Manuscript submission deadline: 15th May, 2018
  • Review comments provided by: 15th June, 2018
  • Planned month for issue publication: 30th September, 2018.

4   Processing / Publication Fee

There is no processing or publication fee for publishing research paper in the Annals of Arid Zone. It is advised to avoid colored maps/ photographs / graphs or keep minimum to avoid additional printing charges.