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FAO launches first e-Learning course to transform dryland management

Published: 05 April 2023

FAO has launched a new e-learning course that will inspire practitioners to champion transformational dryland forest management strategies, spearheaded by the Committee on Forestry’s Working Group on Dryland Forests and Agrosilvopastoral Systems (COFO WG).

The Transforming Dryland Forests and Agrosilvopastoral Systems: An approach to sustaining and developing food production in drylands under change course was developed through the joint efforts and expertise of the COFO WG and 15 partners, the largest collaboration to date on any FAO Academy course. It is the now available free on the FAO Learning Academy platform and is the platform’s first course focusing on drylands. It targets programme and project managers, field practitioners, policy makers and anyone interested in sustainable development of drylands.

Through five online lessons, the course will build the competencies needed to transform the way practitioners manage dryland forests, with a focus on increasing sustainability whilst retaining the benefits of other interventions. The course takes around five hours to complete and after a final test, participants will be awarded a certificate.

Urgent transformation is needed

The impact of climate change is already being felt in the world’s drylands, which are home to over two billion people, and a business-as-usual approach is no longer an option for a food-secure future. There is an urgent need for a transformation in land and natural resource management through innovative community-led strategies that adapt to water scarcity and decreasing soil productivity. The e-learning course focuses on agrosilvopastoral systems as a solution, which utilise both dryland trees and livestock in a mutually beneficial system. When correctly implemented, agrosilvopastoral systems can ensure the sustainability of food production and livelihoods in these regions, whilst alleviating poverty and reducing the risk of conflict and disasters.

Dryland communities need champions to support this wave of transformation; but there is a huge gap between awareness and capacity to implement sustainable dryland management interventions. The e-learning course was created to address this shortfall. It builds on the sustainable approaches to dryland management discussed in FAO’s 2021 publication Building climate-resilient dryland forests and agrosilvopastoral production systems: An approach for context-dependent economic, social, and environmentally sustainable transformations. The e-learning course will focus on key areas of drylands sustainable dryland management, including achieving a synergy-focused decision-making process, implementing management systems that integrate both forest and rangeland management, and improving efficient goal setting and progress measurement.

Read more and apply here!

Text borrowed from FAO