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Volume :32 Issue : 120 2006      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Role of Total Protection in Decreasing Sand Movement: A Study of the State of Sabah Al-Ahmad Natural Reservation - State of Kuwait

Auther : Mr. Ali H. Fatah Allah - Dr. Assma A. Aba Hussain

     The natural rangeland is an important economical resource in Kuwaits desert environment, in addition to its role in limiting soil erosion, conservation of wildlife species and their habitat and preservation of floral genetic resources. Sand movement is considered one of the natural phenomena that threaten the sustainability of rangeland in arid areas.

     Kuwait is located on the course of two sand movement belts; Al-Huwaimliyah and Al-Gashaniyah. Its dry climate makes the rangeland environment very fragile and easily damaged. That is evident by the increase of the quantity of deposited sand and the recurrence of sandstorms. Various human activities in desert areas such as overgrazing, weeding out natural desert plants,soil compacting by vehicles and machinery, camping as well as other activities have created another local cause for sand movement which in turn increases the desertification area in Kuwait. Establishing protected areas is considered one of the most successful methods of combating sand movement, in addition to its role in preserving the local wildlife, biodiversity and combating desertification.

     This study aims to show the role of conservation in Sabah Al-Ahmad Natural Reserve in limiting sand erosion by measuring the quantities of sand movement for a year before protection (1997), and another year (2001) after an entire year of protection. Co-relating the data with meteorological factors during these periods, especially rain and wind factors in addition to identification of volumes of the eroded particles and their volumetric and metallic characteristics. It also aims to monitor other environmental changes such as the plant cover and the physical characteristics of the top soil before and after fencing the reserve, inside and outside the reserve.

     The study shows that sand movement is for the most part slightly gravelly sand, quartz is the predominant mineral with a percentage of between 65-73 %, followed by carbonates (around 12 %), then gypsum (11%), and with less percentage feldspar and rock fragments. The total sand movement from eight directions was found to have dropped after protection in 2001 to about 27.5 kg, of which summer months accounted for 86%. Compared to about 107 kg before protection in 1997, of which 99% of it was recorded in July and August.

     Climatic conditions especially rain fall quantity and dispersion over the rainy season played a major part in decreasing the amount of sand movement. Fencing the reserve has also contributed to enhance the natural plant cover which in turn decreased the sand movement phenomena inside the reserve. The direction of the sand movement was positively linked to the wind speed and direction through the study periods.

The study recommends:

Implementing an action plan to protect and preserve the environmentally important areas, as well as deteriorated areas with high sand movement to rehabilitate these areas internally.

Implementing the principles of integrated management of sustainable natural resources in protected areas in a manner that stops land deterioration and sustainably preserves its biodiversity.

     Keywords: Protected areas, Sabah Al-Ahmad Natural Reserve, Kuwait National Park, Sand erosion, Biodiversity.

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Dec 26, 2021

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