Scientific Reports (التقارير العلمية )
I. Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation of climate change, Report submitted to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in collaboration with National Commission for wildlife Conservation and Development, 2004
Biodiversity is a term used to describe the complex life of a region. It includes animals and plants, their genetic variation and their ecosystems. Biodiversity, in general, is often described at three basic levels of biological integrations, such as genetic diversity, species diversity and ecological diversity. The natural resources, particularly the wild plants are widely regarded as a vital component of the world's biological diversity and an important resource for the planet. Worldwide concern about possible climate change and acceleration of sea-level rise resulting from increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases has led governments to consider international action to address the issue, particularly through the development of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Saudi Arabia's plant diversity is seriously threatened by a number of factors. Climate change is one among them. According to various studies conducted in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East show that variation in the climate has drastic influence on the wildlife of a region and it also increases the crop evapotranspiration, crop water requirements and salinity levels in soils. Saudi Arabia's renewable natural resources are very meager. Out of 2243 species of wild plants reported from Saudi Arabia, about 30-35% species are represented by very thin populations. The effect of climate is quite evident in the size and stature of these populations. In some areas the populations are highly fragmented while in others they are disappeared completely. There are three possible methods in which plants respond to climate change; such as 1) persistence in the modified climate, 2) migrating into better adaptable climate and 3) extinction. This report analyzed the present status of the wildlife and their responses to climate change and identified the impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems.
II. Development of Botanical Studies in Saudi Arabia
A. H. Abuzinada1, A.H. Alfarhan2, I. A. Arif2.
1. National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development, P.O. Box –61681, Riyadh- 11575.
2. Dept. of Botany & Microbiology, College of Science, King Saud University,
P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
The knowledge about wild plants in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula have been known to its people ever since the publication of the centuries old Dinawari’s book on plants, “Kitab Al-Nabat”. Since then, the knowledge about the wild plants in the Arabian Peninsula has developed in a slow and steady manner. The scientific development in modern Saudi Arabia has started after the unification of the Kingdom in 1936 and later it was accelerated after the opening of its first university in Riyadh (University of Riyadh) in 1957. During this period the Kingdom has given much attention to develop its higher education system and devoted special attention on studying the natural vegetation and its protection.
In order to understand the environmental issues further and their significance in the development, the Government of Saudi Arabia has established several autonomous or semi autonomous institutions and organizations, each of them has a specific role to play in the development of Science. Unfortunately, as in other countries of the Middle East, the socio-economic developments in all walks of life have deteriorated the basic fabric of the vegetation of Saudi Arabia for the past two decades or so. Nevertheless, the efforts of various Ministries, organizations and agencies have curtailed the negative impacts operating on the ecosystems. Several scientific bodies of the UN, that have close links with the Kingdom, are helping in organizing and implementing scientific achievements. Trainings, conferences and workshops were also conducted in this regard to increase public awareness. The outcome of these conferences and researches have made substantial contribution to the flora and ecology of Saudi Arabia and eventually paved the way for the conservation of its natural resources.
III. A Preliminary Account on the Plant Diversity in Saudi Arabia
Ahmed H. Alfarhan
The diversity of plant life is a vital component of our terrestrial ecosystems and it plays a key role in maintaining our region's environmental balance and stability. It also helps in the protection of watersheds, stabilization of slopes, improvement of soils, moderation of climate and the provision of a habitat for much of our wild fauna. Ever since the beginning of civilization, the association of man and plants are well known and the basic needs required for man such as food, clothing, fuel, shelter and medicine are fulfilled by plants. Saudi Arabia contains one of the diverse floras of this region. In addition to the endemic plants, the influences of the surrounding floristic regions can be seen in many parts of the plant diversity hotspots of this county. The following paragraphs show an outline of the plant diversity of Saudi Arabia, including plant associations, endemism, ethnobotanical uses, etc.
IV. Topography and Vegetation of Plant-diversity hot spots in Saudi Arabia
Ahmed H. Alfarhan
The most important topographic and floristic diversity of Saudi Arabia can be seen in the mountainous North and South Hijaz regions, stretching parallel to the Red Sea coast. Various scientists and explorers have carried out several studies during the past few decades to explore the vegetation of these regions. The mountains of south western region are more or less continuous with peaks reach elevations of over 2000 m in the vicinity of Taif and over 3000 m southwards, towards Abha. The stony mountains in the north-western region, on the other hand, are generally discontinuous with peaks reach between 1500-2800 m. Isolated mountains in north central Saudi Arabia and an arch like Jabal Tuwaiq, extending the entire central region are less elevated, ranging between 1000-1500 m. Unlike the vegetation of northern and southern Hijaz Mountains, the vegetation in other parts of the country including that of sand seas and range lands in the central and northern region is less important in terms species diversity.
The vegetation of Raida escarpments (1500-2800 m), previously an inaccessible one due to the region's steep slopes, is now facing degradation because of increased pastoral activity. Though this escarpment is protected and containing a large number of trees including Juniper forests in pristine conditions, the populations of a moderate number of species, including some of the rare species such as Huernia saudi-arabica, Ceropegia spp., Scadoxus multiflorus, Klenia odora, Adenia venenata etc., are increasingly marginalized during the past few years. All these threatened populations do not have more than 50 plants/10 sq. km.
Mountains in the Fayfa region, close to Yemen borders, and other isolated mountains like Jabal Abu-Hassan also harbor a diverse flora, which is more or less similar to that of East African, one. A considerable number of endemics have also been reported from these regions (Miller & Nyberg, 1991). Fayfa Mountains (2000 m) which receive a constant moisture-laden breeze on the west facing slopes support the life of many endangered species including few remaining stands of Dracaena ombet, Dorsetnia foetida, Ceropegia spp., Rhytidocaulon spp., etc. Though the mountains in the Saudi-Yemen border do not have any remarkable variation in terms of precipitation and temperature, the density and variation in the vegetation of Yemen are apparently higher than that of the Fayfa -mountains. This is perhaps due to the increased urbanization practices or the effect of centuries-old terraced cultivation on virgin lands. A considerable number of species recorded from the northern mountains of Yemen have so far not been collected from Fayfa regions. The ways to trace those species, which were disappeared from these mountains (local extinction), are virtually, nil, as all previous literature covering this part of the region did not mention any exact collection detail or all collections are from within the borders of Yemen only.