A Rapid Assessment of the Impacts of the Iraq-Kuwait Conflict on Terrestrial Ecosystems Part Three: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

United Nations Environment Programme (1991)

This report gives an overall assessment of the effects of the Iraq-Kuwait conflict on the terrestrial ecosystems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It also provides a description of the state of the environment in the Kingdom before and after the war, in addition to a draft environmental rehabilitation programme which includes recommendations and measures for the mitigation, rehabilitation and protection of the environment. The assessment was carried out by a UNEP three-man team, who visited the Kingdom (28.8 - 3.9.1991), worked closely with the Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration (MEPA), carried out extensive field trips in the eastern region - the site of war activities - and discussed preliminary observations thoroughly with Saudi Experts. The report first dealt with the state of the environment before the Iraq-Kuwait Conflict. It described the physical factors. The area covers 224 million hectares out of which more than 120 million hectares are natural rangeland and which provide wildlife as well as livestock with biomass for feed. The vegetation is typical to the desert environment prevailing in the Arabian Peninsula, where the climate is hot and subjected, for the greater part of the year, to northerly winds moving from Eastern Mediterranean towards the Gulf. Most soils in Saudi Arabia are considered young soils (immature). About one-third of the area is sandy deserts (not stable sand dunes). Loamy shallow soils are distributed all over the country and occupy large areas.

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