Rangelands in their diverse forms occupy about 70% of the Earth’s inhabited land area and support about 15% of the population. While productivity is low they have greater potential than most other regions to provide essential ecosystem services to a growing global population with minimal disruption of natural processes. This potential for sustainable land use is under threat from many pressures – biophysical, economic and political – and its realisation will require responses across all of these dimensions.
The articles in this virtual issue provide examples from the world’s rangelands of the pressures opposing sustainable land use, potential policy responses appropriate to local socio-ecological systems, and technical developments that will underpin sustainable land use. This broad scope is a deliberate editorial response to the multifaceted challenge of securing sustainable use of the world’s rangelands. The Australian Rangeland Society, together with The Rangeland Journal’s editors and publishers, hope that this collection of articles will extend awareness of the scale and complexity of the challenge and stimulate ongoing contributions.