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The Editor and the Lead Authors want to acknowledge the continuous help and support received throughout this project from UNEP's offices. We want to thank all the technical staff from UNEP-ROLAC in Mexico City, and UNEP/GRID in Sioux Falls. Very especial thanks to Kakuko Nagatani, Ashbindu Singh, Hua Shi, and Bruce W. Pengra, who put their outstanding talent and their dedication fully behind this project, and made the production of this volume possible in just seven months of very hard work. We also want to thank the two project liaisons at UNEP's Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA) in Nairobi, Timo Maukonen and Marcus Lee. Their technical knowledge - not to mention patience with the group, diplomatic skills, and good-humoured attitude - made our work a true pleasure. Finally, our thanks to all the support staff at UNEP Nairobi and Mexico City: Esther Mendoza Ramos, María Teresa Hurtado Badiola, Beth Ingraham, Jennifer Odallo, and Audrey Ringler, as well as John Mugwe who organized the WIKI site and responded quickly and patiently to all our requests and queries. We are deeply obliged to all of them.

Mary Seely, lead author of chapter 2, wishes to thank the invaluable assistance received from Inge Henschel, Janis Klimowicz, Judith Lancaster, and Lisa Wable. Richard Felger thanks the Wallace Research Foundation for their generous support of the research projects that allowed the writing of the box on Sonoran Desert plant uses. Sabine Schmidt wishes to acknowledge, in the framework of Mongolian-German Technical Cooperation, the projects "Nature Conservation and Buffer Zone Development" (1995-2002), and "Conservation and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources - Gobi Component" (GTZ, German Technical Cooperation), implemented by IPECON - Initiative for People Centred Conservation of NZNI (New Zealand Nature Institute), who facilitated participatory planning with herder communities and piloted people-centred approaches to conservation in the Gobi. Uriel Safriel, lead author of chapter 3, acknowledges the help received from Meir Pener from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for providing material and advice for the locust section; to Zohara Yaniv from the Agricultural Research Center, Bet-Dagan, Israel, and Ofer Bar-Yosef from Harvard University for advice regarding the medicinal plants and archaeological sections, respectively; to Yossi Leshem from Tel Aviv University and Peter Berthold from Max-Planck- Institut für Ornithologie, Vogelwarte Radolfzell for allowing the use of the map and their information on the migration of the white stork; and to William Schlesinger from Duke University for providing insightful comments on the chapter. Scott Morrison thanks Brian Cohen, Kirk Klausmeyer, David Mehlman, Bob McCready, and Mark Reynolds for contributions to and review of earlier versions of the bird migration section of chapter 3, as well as Jonathan Hoekstra and the entire Global Habitat Assessment Team of The Nature Conservancy for support in producing the book's Appendices. Elena Abraham and Stella Navone, lead authors of chapter 4, would like to thank Nelly Horak for her skillful help with the translation of their manuscript. Stefanie Herrmann and Charles Hutchinson, lead authors of chapter 6, wish to thank Frank Eckardt, from the University of Cape Town, for assistance in the processing of the vegetated sand dune images.

Lastly, the Editor wants to thank the warm hospitality provided at our two workshop meetings by the wonderful staff of Instituto Argentino de Investigaciones de las Zonas Áridas (IADIZA) in Mendoza, Argentina, and that of the Gobabeb Training and Research Centre in Gobabeb, Namibia. The stunning natural beauty of the two places and the incredible research that is being done at both institutions was a source of inspiration for all of us.

© UNEP 2006