Association of Arid Lands Studies

The 2018 meeting of the Association of Arid Lands Studies (AALS) will be held in conjunction with the Western Social Science Association (WSSA) meetings on April 4-7, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk. The best graduate student paper submission at the 2018 AALS meetings will be awarded a $500 prize.

2018 WSSA Conference Information

In accordance with changes made by the WSSA, all papers must be submitted through the WSSA website. If you are interested in presenting please visit, select Arid Lands Studies and Geography, and then ‘Click here to submit a single paper’. All papers must be submitted by December 1, 2017.

AALS Membership Application

Human occupation of arid and semi arid regions is perhaps as old as humankind itself. Today 14 percent of the world's population occupies these ecologically sensitive water-short areas, comprising approximately one-third of the earth's land surface.

For the hundreds of millions of people living in the arid and semiarid regions, what does life have to offer? Is it a constant struggle to tame the environment?

Or do these people learn to accommodate and respect their harsh surrounding? Perhaps they share a feeling of helplessness. What are the cultural and historical factors that influence life in the deserts?

These are important questions because how humans live in the dry areas depends upon their perception of the land and the ability to control their fate. Humans and their social institutions--it is well accepted now--are as much an accomplice in the problems of arid and semiarid lands as aridity itself.

An increasing world population will generate additional material and social demands on the earth's marginal lands and will create unique needs and opportunities for cooperative interdisciplinary research and education.

Institutional support for the study of arid and semiarid lands is perhaps greater now than ever before. National and international organizations are endorsing the need for studying the human aspects of survival in the arid lands.

Formed in April 1977, the Association for Arid Lands Studies (AALS) is a unique professional association designed to emphasize the importance of, and coordinate the efforts for, studying human adaptation to the world's arid and semiarid lands. AALS now has a membership representing nearly all the United States and more than 20 countries. Journal of Arid Lands and Natural Resources is the annual publication of AALS. The 27th volume of the Journal will consist primarily of submissions from the 2012, 2013 and 2014 conferences.

The Association is now headquartered at Kansas State University. If you are interested in joining AALS or have any questions about the organization please contact Daniel Kuester who is the current Executive Director of the organization

AALS is affiliated with the Western Social Science Association and the Southwestern and Rocky Mountain Divisions of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

AALS has the following purposes:

  • to encourage and increased general awareness of the problems and potentials of the arid and semiarid lands of the world and of human adjustment to and impact upon them;
  • to present the interests and concerns of persons working in this area;
  • to promote contacts with others having similar specializations;
    to stimulate disciplinary and interdisciplinary arid lands research and teaching;
  • to organize and sponsor symposia, professional programs, and meetings; and
  • to maintain communication and exchange of information through annual meetings and by means of a newsletter, proceedings, abstracts, and of a professional publication.

For more information on AALS please contact:

Daniel Kuester, Executive Director of AALS at


Mark Melichar, President of AALS at