Welcome to the Global Arid Zone Project (GAZP)! 

This project aims to bring together arid and semi-arid restoration researchers globally to pool existing data and knowledge for a deeper understanding of restoration science. Arid and semi-arid zones comprise 40% of global land cover and represent important locations for agriculture, rangeland, and extractable resources. However, extensive human land use has led to degradation over large extents of these landscapes. Efforts to restore the dominant species and structures of these ecosystems have rapidly expanded worldwide, yet reinstatement of diversity, structure, and function remains difficult.

The cornerstone of global restoration efforts often rests on seeding foundational species in degraded systems. The practical result of seeding, however, can be limited germination, recruitment, and survival of seeded species. Enormous advances are being made in seed science that focus on breaking physiological and mechanical barriers to seed germination in the field. We aim to complement that research by exploring broad, environmental drivers of seed success, such as the role of current and historical climatic conditions or the influence of previous land use in restoration areas. By quantifying performance and trends over many projects, we can benchmark current restoration against future advancements. Additionally, there may be general drivers of success that can be quantified, providing a starting point for site-level project planning in future.

Map of global distribution of drylands.

Primary Questions

  1. What is the rate of arid and semi-arid restoration seed success globally?
  2. How is the rate of seed success changing through time? i.e. are we getting better at seeding?
  3. How do local and regional environmental conditions influence seed success?
  4. How do land use history and restoration strategies influence seed success?

As the project develops, these questions will expand with collaborative input from all participants.

We are seeking contributors and collaborators!

The project was started in early 2018, and we are actively searching out arid and semi-arid restoration practitioners. Though data contribution is the primary method of collaboration at this stage, the role of individual contributors will grow and change as we move into data analysis and interpretation. Please see below for further details on data contribution.

A growing network

Data contribution is not the only way to engage with the GAZP. Many restoration ecologists worldwide have joined the network and will receive regular project updates and opportunities to engage. In future, internet development and project communication will facilitate greater connectivity between all participants, actively assisting in the spread of restoration knowledge regionally. If you are interested in joing the network or following project progress through our montly newsletter, please email the primary coordinator, Dr. Nancy Shackelford

Data requirements

Data is being collected primarily from scientific researchers and practitioners. Requirements for inclusion are as follows:

  • Collected in an ecosystem with less than 600 mm average annual rainfall.
  • Centered on restoration activities in a degraded site.
  • At least three species were seeded, at least one native. Seeding of multiple species in monocultures is acceptable.
  • Data includes seeding rate, able to be converted to seed per unit area of restoration.
  • Data includes above-ground plant density post-seeding OR
  • Data includes above-ground plant cover post-seeding.

Participation in GAZP requires the submittal of raw data of seeding treatments and outcomes as well as core meta-data on each seeding project. Participants are not limited in the number of projects they can submit. Because we understand everyone’s time is limited, data can be submitted “as is” in their raw excel form. Alternatively, a template can be provided for data formatting by each contributor. To be applicable, the contributed raw data should at a minimum have:

  • Seed rate data for each treatment in your work
  • Raw vegetation monitoring data post-seeding, either count or cover
  • Site details, which can be submitted either as a report or publication, or as information directly entered through the project's meta-data spreadsheet.

If you have data for contribution or want further details on the submission process, please contact the primary coordinator.

​Co-authorship expectations

Global collaborative efforts are increasingly common in science. Success can only be built by a network of people who have invested the time and energy into data collection, and have the willingness to share it to the wider scientific community. Because the project relies on a diverse group of contributors, we aim to clearly outline expectations and requirements. We model our process on existing global collaborations such as the Nutrient Network and have laid out expections for co-authorship here.