The Global-DEP conceptual framework — research on dryland ecosystems towards sustainability

Bojie Fu, Mark Stafford-Smith, Yanfen Wang, Binfang Wu, Xiubo Yu, Nan Lv, Dennis S Ojima, Yihe Lv, Chao Fu, Yu Liu, et al.

The Global Dryland Ecosystem Programme (Global-DEP) is a new scientific programme that intends to facilitate actionable interdisciplinary research on drylands towards sustainability. Through a review of the current research status of drylands globally, a conceptual framework that included four key themes and research priorities under each theme were proposed for the Global-DEP.

Journal Title: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability

Volume/Issue/Page: 2021, 48: 17-28

Published Time: February 2021


Given the increasing speed and intensity of ongoing climate change and human interventions, more systematic research is needed to realize the Sustainable Development Goals in drylands. The current research status of drylands globally was reviewed together with a conceptual framework that included four key themes: (1) dryland social-ecological system dynamics and driving forces, (2) dryland social-ecological system structure and functions, (3) dryland ecosystem services and human well-being in a changing environment and society, and (4) ecosystem management and sustainable livelihoods in drylands. The themes and their linkages were then analysed to outline three research priorities under each theme. The resulting conceptual framework and research priorities were proposed as the agenda of a new scientific programme, the Global Dryland Ecosystem Programme (Global-DEP), which is intended to facilitate actionable interdisciplinary research on drylands. This framework could be useful for wider dryland research and help meet the needs of practitioners and policymakers in drylands. 

Corresponding author: Bojie Fu,

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