Restoration of degraded dryland ecosystems: A case study of Kuwait

Narayana Bhat

Publication Date:

Kuwait’s native flora comprises 256 annuals, 83 herbaceous perennials, 34 shrubs and one tree species. Historically, native vegetation in Kuwait is subjected to several natural (harsh, unpredictable weather, scanty and unpredictable precipitation, extended drought, and relatively short growing period) and anthropocentric (overgrazing, off-road vehicular movements, camping) pressures. The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990, and the two Gulf wars that followed subjected the desert resources, including the native vegetation, to additional pressures. Because dryland ecosystems are very slow to recover, the State of Kuwait initiated specific short-to-medium and long-term restoration measures under the Kuwait Environmental Remediation Program (KERP). In this program, five protected areas covering a total area of 1,680 km² spreading across different dryland ecosystems were established, and a revegetation island approach was adopted to restore the ecosystems. Seeds of keystone native species (Rhanterium epapposum, Farsetia aegyptia, Calligonum comosum, Pennisetum divisum, Panicum turgidum, and Haloxylon salicornicum) were mass produced and nursery facilities for raising large volumes of quality seedlings were established. Both direct seeding and seedling transplantation approaches along with seed enabling technologies are being tested to maximize revegetation success, which is being assessed through long-term ecological monitoring. This program represents one of the world’s largest dryland restoration efforts of its type. When successfully implemented, the lessons learned from Kuwait’s efforts will undoubtedly contribute significantly to the state-of-the-art knowledge on revegetation under arid climatic conditions. The presentation will cover the findings of several years of ecological restoration efforts in Kuwait.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration