Biodiversity in Yemen [Archives:2001/39/Health]

September 24 2001

The geographical position of Yemen and the diverse topographical features have given rise to different ecosystem types endowing rise to different ecosystem types endowing the country with high level of Biodiversity.
Thus we find that the flora of Yemen is mixture of the east African high lands, sahara Arabian regions, the Mediterranean regions as well as its own endemic Flora. The main natural habitats and vegetation areas in Yemen can be Summarized. Coasted:
Coastal plains low Altitude Mountains. High altitude mountain high land plains. Eastern/ northeast mountains eastern desert, Socatra island. Over 3000 plant species can be found on the main land of Yemen and about 10% of them are endemic. It’s important to note the majority of endemic in Yemen is associated with mountain areas that provide a rich variety of ecological niches and offer a degree of Environment stability during periods of climatic changes. As would be expected a number of plat species are traditionally used for different purposes in Yemen:
Medicinal and aromatic: Medicinal and aromatic plants play traditionally an important role in the lives of most Yemenis who use them as traditional remedies to cure diseases e.g. on the country side. They also use them as cosmetic condiments coloring and flavoring agents.
Bowsing and grazing: such plants include a large number of trees, grasses and weeds that are important to cattle, sheep and goats.
Wood for fuel, most commonly utilizes Acacia spp. Ficus spp …etc.
Timber for construction.
Sand stabilization: some trees and shrubs are used for sand stabilization in windy dry areas status of fauna: Yemen has a rich and diverse terrestrial fauna because of the wide rung of habitats in the country of three major bio-geographic regions the palearctic afrotropical and oriental regions. Yemen has recorded land animal species are relatively large species which are rare in other parts of Arabia such as the Idmi or Arabian Mountain Gazelle Ibex, Baboon, Arabian Red Fox sand Fax, Blandford’s Fox, striped Hyena, Arabian wolf, Jackal, Arabian leopard and possibly the cheetah. Yemen is also very rich bird life with more than 363 species thus for recorded representing 18 orders, 61 families and 177 genre. It is home to a large number of species that are epidemic to southwest Arabia. For a country to be so richly endowed with endemic birds adds greatly to its international significance. With the exception of the Arabian Golden sparrow all endemic species occur in the highlands. The demise of the terracing systems could adversely affect several of the endemic as a result of soil erosion and loss of trees. Threats to terrestrial Biodiversity of Yemen.
A: Threats to Flora:
Yemen’s vegetation cover is being drastically reduces by a rapid degradation of the Environment through human in pact and global phenomena such as increased temperature, reduced rainfall through deforestation at the African mainland. It’s believed that drought and desertification threatens 90% the land area and are attributed to following causes:
Excessive mechanical cultivation for agriculture, urbanization, infrastructure building roads.
Poor agricultural practices “Use of herbicides”
Over cutting of trees for firewood timber and charcoal.
Over grazing and over browsing of all classes of livestock.
Expansion of housing in and around cities Villages.
Wind erosion and sand dune encroachment.
Soil salinization due to excessive irrigation.
B: threats to fauna
The treats to the terrestrial fauna of Yemen are similar to those faced by animals in most countries of the middle East region and include:
1-Loss of habitual through degradation of local vegetation.
2-over hunting of mammals and birds as a result of the proliferation of firearms and lack of enforceable hunting legislation.
3-construction of roads that open the way for destruction of distant areas.
4-increased construction of houses.
C: threats to the quantity and quality of freshwater:
1-over use and hence depletion of water source.
2-degradation of wet land ecosystem.
3-improper and excessive application of poisonous pesticides.
4-excessive use of chemical fertilizers.
5-contamination of ecosystems with untreated human sewage.
1-establishment and managing protected areas including Trans-boundary reserves with neighboring countries.
2-Raising public awareness of the value of protected area and biodiversity.
3-preparing and implementing appropriate places legislations for biodiversity conservation and management.
4-Developing and implementing appropriate rang management practices.
5-Reviving traditional resource management systems.
6-providing training for Government MGO’s and community groups in natural resource and protected area management.
The main environmental problems in Yemen are:
Increase the population density.
Depletion of ground water resource.
Marine pollution.
Continuos destruction of Biodiversity