Ecosystems and Human Well-Being
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005
Desertification is a concept used to grasp the more acute forms of the degradation of land-based ecosystems and the consequences of the loss of their services. Drought is the silent killer—the natural catastrophe that is only too easily forgotten. Experience shows that awareness of the implications of desertification and drought must be expanded and that policy orientation must be backed by robust monitoring systems and related findings.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment has made a significant and much appreciated contribution to this end. It carefully presents the critical importance of functional ecosystems for human well-being and sustainable economic growth. The case is particularly powerful for the drylands of the world. Populations in arid, semiarid, and dry subhumid
climatic zones, which define the field of intervention of the UNCCD, are greatly affected by environmental vulnerability