Drylands occupy over 40% of the Earth’s land surface but there are many challenges to organisms colonizing these environments, such as aridity and extreme weather conditions. Despite these challenges, drylands support a high level of biodiversity that has developed many different adaptations for survival in harsh environments. This biodiversity also has a major role in many biogeochemical cycles, which together with their wide geographical extent makes drylands a key part of the biosphere. However, the expansion of agriculture and other human activities are having a large impact on fragile dryland ecosystems, altering their functioning and jeopardizing the delivery of the many ecosystem services they provide.

We have compiled a series of papers for a new collection on dryland biodiversity in the Nature portfolio, co-edited by which is also open for new submissions. For more information see https://www.nature.com/collections/gbjabjgjcb.