International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security

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Land Degradation Due to Wind and Water Erosion in Kuwait

E. Al-Obaid1 and M. Al-Senafy2

1Environment Public Authority, Soil and Arid Lands Department, Kuwait

2Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Water Resources Division


Land degradation is one of the most disastrous ecological processes. Heavy human pressure, especially during draught periods, and the Gulf war activities are the main causes of land degradation in Kuwait. These two main causes are exacerbated by the inherent fragility of the soils, vegetation cover and micro relief of the area. The main objective of this paper is to assess the land degradation mechanisms and the environmental consequences. Remote sensing techniques, field investigations and laboratory analysis were used to map and assess the land degradation in Mutlaa, Sulaibiah, Ras Al-Sabiyah and Ahmadi-Al-Dahar areas of Kuwait. Four classes of land degradation were identified within the studied areas. They are non-degraded, slightly degraded, moderately degraded and severely degraded. The moderately degraded was the most dominant class and forms about 44% in average of the land degradation within the studied areas. Wind and water erosion indicators i.e., biological, morphological and environmental were observed in the four studied areas except the absence of water erosion in Sulaibiah area. Water erosion was more severe in hilly terrain than the flat to undulating plains. Environmentally, wind and water erosion have both on site and off site impacts. In order to control land degradation, it is recommended to apply corrective and rehabilitation measures. The corrective measures will be applied to sustain the productivity of the moderately degraded terrain by minimizing the causes of land degradation and introducing soil and vegetation improving practices. Rehabilitation measures should be applied to restore the severely degraded terrain by treating the compacted and the oil contaminated surfaces and the highly deformed terrain.