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Estimating Desertification in the Arab World Using GIS Approach
Ali Mansour Ali Saad and Noresah Mohd Shariff
Geography Programme, School of Distance Education, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Minden, Malaysia
Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 8 (6): 1046-1053, 2011
© IDOSI Publications, 2011
More than 150 countries of the world are facing the problems of desertification and this figure includes most of the Arab countries. About one-third of desert lands in the world are located in the Arab countries. Approximately, 90 percent of the total area of the Arab world is categorized as dry land and is characterized by harsh environment, fragile ecosystems in addition to limited water resources and arable lands. Several efforts have been made thus far to bring to a halt the desertification in Arab countries but still, it remains the major environmental problem in the region. Several factors such as increasing
population growth, increasing demands of food and other natural products and migration are identified to be the major contributing factors for desertification.
This paper analyzes the status of desertification in the Arab countries, identifies the major causes and trends of land degradation and accentuates the limitations and constraints in combating desertification. This study also highlights the applications of remote sensing and GIS in estimating and monitoring desertification in the Arab countries. GIS and remote sensing techniques can provide improved quality and quantity of information on degradation trends over large areas and provide for more effective management of the information about desertification.