International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security

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Dryland Degradation in Saudi Arabia –
A Long Story, Possible Solutions and Basic Problems

Saudi Arabia covers the largest part of the Arabian Peninsula and most of it is characterized by arid ecosystems receiving less than 100 mm annual precipitation. Although most people call these areas “deserts”, large parts of them are in fact semidesert grass- and shrublands which are currently degraded to a degree that resembles “true deserts” in many cases. The ecological potential of most areas has been reduced due to continuous uncontrolled grazing activities – a problem not new to all GCC countries. But the economic loss due to overexploitation of formerly productive open rangelands is enormous. Several studies in Saudi Arabia revealed that despite decades of overgrazing, many areas are still able to recover to a large degree if the grazing impact is reduced. The resulting possibility of rangeland rehabilitation seems promising. But currently a variety of factors prevent the application of a sustainable grazing management on rehabilitated rangelands. These problems and possible solution are being discussed in this contribution.


icon_iPlenary Lecturer:

Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Barth

Professor for Physical Geography
University of Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 348
D-69120 Heidelberg,
phone: ++49 6221 54-5471
fax: ++49 6221 54-4997

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