The use of remote sensing to develop a site history for restoration planning in an arid landscape Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016 Society for Ecological Restoration. Developing a site history and ecological site description is one of the critical steps in restoration planning for arid landscapes. This study focuses on Umm Nigga, Northeast of Kuwait, which was damaged by various human activities. The northern portion of Umm Nigga falls within the boundaries of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) adjacent to Iraq, and was fenced off to restrict public access since 1994. The central objective of this project was to use remote sensing, field assessment, and Geographical Information System (GIS) spatial data to develop a site history for restoration planning of Umm Nigga. Field observation and GIS analysis indicated that the landscape could be divided into three units along a gradient ranging from the coast to inland locations, based on geology, soil properties, and dominant vegetation. Reference sites in the DMZ were also matched for each unit. Remote sensing was used to compare vegetation cover between damaged and reference sites at selected units. Results showed that vegetation cover increased in the unfenced damaged site after the 1991 Gulf War from 2% in 1988 to 37% in 1998, but then it decreased to 23% in 2013. In the DMZ reference site, the vegetation cover also increased from 0% in 1988 to 40% in 1998, but it continued increasing through 2013 to 64%. We conclude that overgrazing and destructive camping are the major source of disturbance in the damaged areas.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Abdullah, M. M., Feagin, R. A., Musawi, L., Whisenant, S., & Popescu, S.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Abdullah, Meshal M||Feagin, Rusty A||Musawi, Layla||Whisenant, Steven||Popescu, Sorin

publication date

  • January 2016