Aim of terrestrial section is to study the ecology, biodiversity and landform in Saudi Arabia. Since the past few years Terrestrial section of CEW is deeply involved in studying various ecological aspects of flora and fauna in different locations of Saudi Arabia.
The flora and fauna of Saudi Arabia are diverse, distinctive and intimately shaped by the combination of extremely low-nutrient soils besides hot and drought conditions. Terrestrial ecology is the study of how land-based organisms interact with each other and their environment. The focus is also on investigating biodiversity loss, biodiversity conservation and consequences of invasion by non-native species on the structure and function of the ecological communities. Our research focus also spans watershed and land use, population and community ecology; urban, rural and wildlife ecology and habitat restoration.
Terrestrial team is also actively engaged in carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment studies in various regions of Saudi Arabia. Through such studies baseline data on flora and fauna of different habitats has been collected besides the threats they face. The important part of such studies is the prediction of impacts due to developmental activities and suggestion of mitigation measures. Environmental compliance monitoring is also a part of such studies. Habitat restoration is also being covered and this part of work includes identification of disturbed habitats and restoration of such habitats with the native flora and fauna.
Terrestrial team also focuses on applied geomorphological study in the coastal and desert areas of Saudi Arabia. Research on the geomorphic features of Saudi Arabia like beaches, dunes, sabkhas, and wadies is the major interest of this section. At present the team is engaged in carrying out EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) and compliance monitoring in different regions of Saudi Arabia.
The terrestrial team is also engaged in studying the morphology, characteristics, distribution and evolution of different landforms such as desert, coast, sand dune and wadi. Mapping of different landforms is being done. Different survey techniques and tools are being used to investigate the formation of these landforms and hazard zonation. The foremost among them is the RS-GIS being used for carrying out spatial analysis and change detection over a wide area. All these studies go a long way in preserving the ecological habitats and in protecting the associated biodiversity in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Arabian Peninsula consists of a terrestrial feature like sand sea (Al-Jafurah, Ad-Dahna, The great Nafud, Nafud Ath-Thuwayrate, Nafud As-Sirr and Ar-Rub’al-Khali). Construction in the desert and sabkha areas is quite challenging due to migration of dune besides cavities present in the karst topography and sabkha. The team is focusing on mapping different landforms and hazard zonation in addition to assessing the anthropogenic impact on the landform for sustainable environmental management.