Greening Arabia's Desert

An Introduction to the Potential To Convert the Arabian Peninsula from Desert to Savannah

The Arab Peninsula

After you’ve read through this series, you’ll understand how to convert desert into productive landscape in a regenerative and permanent way (the micro), and how I hope to see this achieved in the Arabian Peninsula (the macro).

When Arabia Was Awash In Rivers and Lakes

Just because a place is a desert now does not mean that it has always been a desert, nor does it mean that it will stay one permanently. Let’s take a look at history to see how recently water was much more common in this region.

Why Arabia Should Already Be Getting More Rain

Conditions on the Arabian Peninsula are actually pretty good for rain – much better than you’d think. Take a look at what they are, and why they’re so promising.

Desertification and the Arabian Peninsula; the Downward Spiral of Death

Especially around Jeddah, which is in an area bordering the Red Sea, humidity is relatively high. So why in the world have rain levels been decreasing in the region?

The Catalyst of Desertification

A thousand-year tradition was recently replaced by new government measures. Now the same people who would have maintained the green of the land are all but foreced to watch it disappear.

The Hijaz Has Diarrhea

Within 24 hours of a rainfall event here, 90% of that water is already lost to the sea, and only 10% is left to nourish all the plant life in the watershed until the next rainfall (which may not occur for another 1000 days!).

Floods Can Reforest the Hijaz

The most valuable resources in the current water cycle are the floods that periodically rush through the wadi systems of Saudi Arabia’s west coast. These floods (and other rains) constitute the only sustainable source of water in the entire Kingdom.

Trees Are More Awesome Than You Thought: Hydraulic Redistribution

One of the problems in re-greening a desert area is the layer of clay that develops, almost impermeably, on the land’s surface. The solution? A very clever kind of natural pump. You guessed it: trees.

Trees Are More Awesome Than You Thought: Cloud Seeding

It seems that almost everything that trees push up into the atmosphere plays a major role in modifying precipitation–and most of it in the area of increasing cloud formation and rainfall.

Replacing Imported Staples with Perennial Desert Subsitutes

The people in Al Baydha have two significant problems when it comes to food. First, very little of their food is produced locally, and second, their diet is significantly lacking.

Trees Are More Awesome Than You Thought: Fighting Dust & Heart Disease

Trees remove a host of pollutants: nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter of ten microns and less (PM10), including fine particulate matter (fpm) of less than 2.5 microns. A study in the UK found that urban trees reduced fine particulate matter by 50%.

Trees Are More Awesome Than You Thought: Dew in the Desert

There are some desert areas where dew consists of 100% of all the precipitation–particularly in the Atacama of South America as well as in some areas of the Namib desert.

Trees Are Awesome: Desertification vs. Afforestation

Desertification is a self-replicating, self-reinforcing downward spiral of death, drought, and barrenness. Afforestation is an upward spiral leading to greater life, water, and productivity. Whichever cycle is underway largely depends, in many cases, on how people are managing the land.

Saudi Arabia in the Oil Age is a Microcosm of Everywhere

Transportation. Manufacturing. Packaging. Plastics. Energy. We depend on oil for almost everything in our lives. Put that thought on a shelf for a second and let’s talk about Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s Food Security Double Whammy

Drought LandSaudi Arabia’s domestic agriculture is at the point of ceasing because it is out of water, and has almost no soil to start with. Meanwhile, relying on imported food presents serious, even grave, risks.