According to the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C., "60 percent of the world’s food insecure population lives in dry lands," with the rural inhabitants in these areas dependent on agriculture and livestock for food and income. Agriculturally viable lands in arid regions are experiencing escalating desertification through soil erosion, water scarcity and inappropriate land use and cultivation practices, leading to decreased food production. As a result, food insecurity and poverty continue to grow.Food security is a complex sustainable development issue linked to agricultural practices, economic development, environment, and trade. The projects funded by the International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC) have addressed several of the social, economic, and technical drivers threatening food security. By funding important research that aims to improve food production, protect precious natural resources, provide technical assistance, and facilitate knowledge sharing, the work of the IALC is helping to advance sustainable food security.
1. Subsurface Drip Irrigation for Vegetables Using Effluent in Arid Lands (2003).
Efficient use of water resources is vital in arid and semiarid regions and can help to ensure a stable food supply. This study was conducted to compare two different irrigation systems, subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) and furrow irrigation (FI), in terms of viral contamination and water use efficiency when tertiary effluent is used for irrigation. The water use efficiency of the SDI system was higher than that of the FI system; since the SDI system supplies water right to the root zone, the crop can use water more efficiently, while furrow-irrigated water has a greater chance of evaporation. Results from this study suggest that deeper installation of drip taps and/or frequent irrigation as alternative practices are appropriate in order to minimize soil surface wetting in SDI plots and reduce potential contamination.
2. Drought-Responsive Genes in Populations From Desert Habitats (2000).
Sheep and other livestock, and their products, are important sources of both food and economic opportunity in many arid regions and thus the availability of quality forage is critical. The goal of this project was to describe the variability in different populations of desert forage plants, Dactylis glomerata and Trifolium purpureum. Researchers examined whether the genetic complexity for drought response was greater in peripheral or core populations of these plants and found that in both species, the core population variation accounted for most of the variation.
3. Water Conservation Through Drip Irrigated Alfalfa Cropping Systems (2002).
Last Updated: May 2, 2013
|Contact and Credits|