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SER launches RE-AL, a new thematic series on arid lands within the journal Restoration Ecology

Monday, July 29, 2019  
Posted by: Laura Capponi
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The Society of Ecological Restoration (SER) and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), in coordination with Wiley Publishing, are excited to announce the launch of a new thematic series Restoration Ecology –– Arid Lands (RE-AL) within the journal Restoration Ecology. This branded thematic series will focus on disseminating research breakthroughs and identifying best practices and approaches to arid lands restoration. Given the prevalence of arid lands globally, the increased challenges of desertification, and the simultaneous increased attention to efforts to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality, this new thematic series is well-timed. 


Arid lands make up close to half of Earth’s landmass and include nearly half of both croplands and livestock farms. While supporting human livelihoods can be compatible with ecological goals, increasing conversion of drylands to croplands will likely result in the loss of biodiversity and major ecosystem services and threatens nearly half of global carbon storage. Currently, one-quarter to one-third of arid lands are already degraded; 250 million people are in peril as a result[1]. Therefore, restoration is needed in order to reverse degradation and the rate of desertification, mitigate climate change, and secure livelihoods in drought-stricken areas. However, restoration of arid ecosystems is some of the most challenging work in the restoration arena, precisely because of limited water availability.


Although much work has occurred on this theme in recent decades, knowledge sharing on this topic is needed in order to reach restoration goals. “Globally, arid land ecosystems are severely degraded with serious long-term consequences for their very existence, normal functioning, and provision of ecosystem services,” said Dr. Samira A.S. Omar, Director General of KISR. She continued, “Technologies and approaches to address these challenges are slowly evolving, but much more needs to be done to apply innovative technologies for large-scale restoration of arid land ecosystems. This dedicated thematic series could contribute significantly to achieving these goals.”


This thematic series aims to connect those doing restoration in arid land ecosystems with best practices and current research, especially those with limited access to resources. “We aim to fill this gap with the new thematic issues. SER is thrilled to be partnering with KISR, one of the leading scientific research institutions in the Arab region, to develop this new thematic series. We will also continue to seek additional partners to further expand the reach and accessibility of the series,” said SER Publications Committee Chair Vicky Temperton.


The first issue of RE-AL is due out in early 2020, ideally with two issues per year thereafter for at least five years. “Restoration Ecology – Arid Lands will expand the scientific debate around restoration in arid land ecosystems. We look forward to bringing new, diverse, and inspiring voices to the pages of RE through this thematic series,” commented Stephen Murphy, Restoration Ecology Editor-in-Chief. “All articles will go through the same rigorous peer review process that is already in place for Restoration Ecology. We look forward to receiving scientific, policy, case-based, and opinion articles related to arid lands restoration.” To celebrate and promote the new thematic series, we’ve created a virtual special collection of past articles on this theme, which is available here.  


Those wishing to discuss ideas or submit manuscripts should contact the Editor-in-Chief, Stephen Murphy (




[1] “The UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification: Impact and Role of Drylands | UNCCD”; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Synthesis.; “Drylands and Land Degradation | IUCN.”