Camel farms: a new idea to help desert ecosystems recover

Steadily increasing camel populations in the Arabian Peninsula have dramatically reduced the indigenous biodiversity of desert ecosystems. Vegetation cover, normally protecting the soil from erosion, is mostly drastically reduced by overgrazing, leading to a considerable increase of sand movements. Landscapes with good vegetation cover have been transformed to man-made deserts. A new concept suggests that camel farms could be a novel contribution to combat desertification through excluding excessive numbers of camels from the desert to allow the recovery of desert ecosystems. The farms will provide an innovative alternative source of income, contribute to saving irrigation water for conventional fodder crops, and assist the conservation of the local flora.
 
Marc Breulmann
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Halle, Germany
marc.breulmann(at)ufz.de

Dr Benno Böer
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO