Degradation of mangrove forests and coral reefs in the coastal area of the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia
- Department of Geography, College of Humanities, King Khalid University (Saudi Arabia)
- Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, Assiut University, Assiut (Egypt)
- Prince Sultan Bin Abdul-Aziz Center for Environment and Tourism Research and Studies, King Khalid University (Saudi Arabia)
Biogeographia – The Journal of Integrative Biogeography 35 (2020): 71-89
This study aimed to monitor the degradation of ecosystem biodiversity in one of the most diverse areas in Saudi Arabia. The coastal area of southwestern Saudi Arabia has a rich diversity of flora and fauna, particularly in mangrove and coral reef ecosystems. The total area covered with mangroves was approximately 40 km2 at the end of the 1900s but decreased to approximately 19 km2 by 2019. Coral reef decline was not as extreme, with a total decrease of approximately 330 km2 during the study period. Total reef area declined from approximately 2533.7 km2 in 1990 to approximately 2202 km2 in 2019. Population growth and urban sprawl, as well as overfishing, are among the main factors causing the degradation of both mangrove and coral reefs in this region.
Keywords: Biodiversity, coastal area, coral reefs, human activities, mangrove, marine ecosystem, satellite images