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Saudi Arabia

Vegetation description

Mangrove forests are found in the form of fragmented stands in many tidal areas on the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf coast, south of latitude 26 north. They consist mainly of Avicenia marina trees. On the coast of the Red Sea, Avicenia marina is accompanied by a few examples of Rhizophora mucronata, while on the Saudi Arabian Gulf Rhizophora mucronata is very rare. They grow mostly at the end of the fresh water streams where the silt and organic material are carried out by the water run off from the valleys to the shore of the Red Sea and the Gulf. The majority of the mangrove forests are found on the eastern coast of the Red sea between Jizan in the south and Dibain in the north. The estimated area of mangroves on the Red Sea shore is about 200-6 000 ha, less than that on the Arabian Gulf. Mangrove ecosystems are limited along Arabian Gulf and they are confined to the Damman area (Tarut Bay), with well developed communities consisting of Avicennia marina, and in Gurmah Island. Two mangrove planting sites were established in 1981 in Al Khafji both planted with Avicennia marina. Some smaller plots of Rhizophora stylosa, R. mangle, Lumnitzera racemosa and Bruguiera gymnorrhiza were also laid out. In the Arabian Gulf mangrove ecosystems have been principally affected by the large oil spill from the Gulf War. Mangrove forests are distributed in several areas along the Red Sea. In Al Darb area, at Al Raqabah, Avicennia marina trees form a large ecosystem. Mangrove also occur at Al Qahmah and at Wadi Dhahaban, showing different ranges of height in the different sites. The tallest mangrove trees (6 m height) are located in Al Qahmah. Avicennia marina is also overspread in Rabigh area in Jeddah area and in Jizan area and in Farasan Island, where also Rhizophora mucronata is present.

Saenger, P. 1993. Management of Mangroves in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.Riyadh, Saline Water Conversion Corporation and Ministry for Agriculture and Water.

National level mangrove area estimates







20 400

Saenger, P. 1993. Management of Mangroves in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Review of different sources and ground survey control.


29 200

Spalding, M.D., Blasco, F. and Field, C.D., eds. 1997. World Mangrove Atlas. The International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, Japan. 178 pp.


Map analysis. (Red Sea coast:
scale: 1:250 000; Gulf coast:
scale: 1:2 000 000)

Trends in mangrove area extent over time

No significant changes appear to have occurred in Saudi Arabia over the last two decades.

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