SaudiVeg ecoinformatics: Aims, current status and perspectives

Mohamed A. El-sheikh*, Jacob Thomas, Ahmed H. Alfarhan, Abdulrahman A. Alatar, Sivadasan Mayandy, Stephan M. Hennekens, Joop Schaminee, Ladislav Mucina, Abdulla M. Alansari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

During the last decade many electronic databases of vegetation plots were established in many countries around the world. These databases contain valuable phytosociological information assisting both governmental and NGO (Non-governmental organizations) agencies to formulate strategies and on-ground plans to manage and protect nature resources. This paper provides an account on aims, current status and perspectives of building of a vegetation database for the Central Region (Najd) of Saudi Arabia – the founding element of the Saudi Vegetation Database (SVD). The data stored by the database are sample plots (vegetation relevés) collected according to the field techniques of the Braun-Blanquet approach (lists of taxa accompanied by semi-quantitative cover assessment), and are accompanied by general vegetation characteristics such as vegetation layering and cover, information on life-form of the recorded species, geographical coordinates, altitude, soil typology, topography and many more. More than 2900 vegetation-plot records (relevés) have so far been collected in the Najd region; of these more than 2000 have already been stored using the Turboveg database platform. These field records cover many habitats such as depressions, wadis (dry river beds), agricultural lands, sand dunes, sabkhas, and ruderal habitats. The ecological information collected in the database is currently the largest set of vegetation data collated into a database in the Middle East. These data are of great importance for biodiversity studies in Saudi Arabia, since the region is recording a loss of biodiversity at a fast rate due to environmental problems such as global warming and land-use changes. We envisage that this database would catalyze further data collection on vegetation of the entire Arabian Peninsula, and shall serve as one of the most important datasets for classification and mapping of the vegetation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-398
JournalSaudi Journal of Biological Sciences
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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