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Drylands cover 41 percent of the world’s land surface and host nearly 1/3 of its human population, 50 percent of the world´s livestock, and a vast array of unique and well-adapted wildlife. It is traditionally used and managed by pastoralists through communal or common property rights-based land tenure systems. Many drylands have a history of being overgrazed and degraded with low productivity, and populations depending on it are recurrently struck by droughts and famines, subjected to economic and political marginalization, and commonly faced with enduring resource conflicts. They are also faced with challenges posed by the combination of climate change, increasing demand for livestock products due to human population growth, urbanization, large-scale infrastructure projects, and changing food preferences. Subsequently, recent research has revealed rapid, transformative processes towards intensified, privatized, and enclosed agro-pastoralist production systems.

This transformation is driven by a dynamic and complex set of interacting driving forces, including ecological, demographic, economic, technological, political, and cultural change. To understand the ongoing transition from pastoralism to livestock-based agro-pastoralism in general and the increasingly common practice of land enclosures in particular, we have to move from simplistic and linear representations of both the causes of change and the processes of changing themselves; to a focus on situation-specific and complex socio-ecological interactions among a large number of factors at different spatial and temporal scales.  Factors that work gradually as well as taking place intermittently. This presupposes interdisciplinary research with a capacity to uncover the human- and socio-environmental dynamics of emerging agro-pastoralist systems, with a focus on driving forces, processes, and sustainability outcomes.

Taking this into account, this Research Topic invites high-quality papers addressing the following themes across the globe's drylands:

·      Rehabilitation of degraded rangelands: stories of failure and success

·      Exploring the potential of rangeland enclosures for re-establishing pasture and fodder for livestock production

·      Assessments of impacts of rangeland restoration on biodiversity, ecosystems services, livestock, and pastoralist livelihoods

·      Understanding land use and land cover changes in areas under pastoralism and agro-pastoralism

·      Investigating social, economic, and political drivers and/or effects of land-use changes in drylands

·      Governing dryland restoration: past experiences, present practices, and innovations for the future

Keywords: Overgrazing, East African Drylands, Restoration, Innovation, Sustainability

Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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