Historically, rangelands were primarily used to provide forage for livestock and wildlife. However, this view is extremely narrow and fails to acknowledge their potential for alternative uses and functions. In addition to livestock production, these regions also provide society with valuable products and services that support our standard of living and quality of life.
These include ecosystem services such as mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration, purifying water via bioremediation, and storing genetic diversity within the flora and fauna of these environments.
Rangelands also provide natural beauty, a diversity of wildlife, recreational opportunities such as hunting, hiking, and camping, as well as economic activities such as ranching and mining. Rangeland watersheds are also important for producing clean and abundant water. As a result, ICARDA manages rangeland resources under principles of multiple-use. The appropriate management of rangelands is imperative to the social, economic, and political development of not only pastoral communities but the whole of humanity.