Section 1. Deserts of Kuwait and Current Status

Land degradation in Kuwait, threats and solutions

In Kuwait, socio-economic activities were represented by four main land uses that causes huge damage to the terrestrial ecosystem:

  1. off-road vehicle tracks,
  2. military trenches and bunkers
  3. overgrazing,
  4. camping and
  5. gravel quarries,
  6. sandy berms.

All of these activities were delineated in forms of statistical data and three different maps in several research studies done within Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), and were also compared with other case studies in Kuwait.

The open terrestrial environment represents about 65.7% of the total areas of Kuwait. There were 2409 human facilities estimated in terrestrial environment within Kuwait, 66% of these were suffering from sand encroachment problem and few without sustainable action plan. Also, There were 2409 grazing points observed in the study area mainly concentrated in the southern sector. Density of off-road vehicle tracks within the study area ranged widely from 0.46 to 4.27 km/km2 with an average of 2.49 km/km2 with 1177 km estimated total length.

It is concluded that off-road tracks and grazing points are highly related to each other and both are found in higher densities around watering points. As a result, several studies within the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) recommending development of short and long term national action plans to control land degradation taking in consideration the social participation and enhancing the public awareness about the threats and solution about such phenomena. Therefore, KISR done with cooperation with other governmental and private sectors remarkable work in this matter, such as rehabilitation of gravel quarries within the Liyah preserved area (20 km north of Jahra City) by putting a water lake for enhancing the native live (fauna and flora). This was also followed by planting about 110 thousands of native plants such as Lycium sp., Halexylon sp., Rhanterium sp., Calligonum sp. and others. A mechanical plouging was implemented for the off-road vehicle tracks before rain season and was covered by seeds of native plant seeds and eco-friendly materials.