Desertification is the decrease of the capability of the biological production of Earth and the deterioration of its fertility. The United Nations has declared, as a part of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 1994 in Paris, the official definition of such phenomenon as "the deterioration of land in arid and semi-arid regions, and in dry and semi-humid regions, caused by different factors including climatic change and human activities." The United Nations drafted a convention to combat desertification in December 1996, aiming to oblige the concerned states with implementing the measures into reality in order to combat desertification and protect the environment and natural resources. This convention was approved by 60 countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom and most Arab countries are considered among the arid regions with fragile ecosystems because of their geographical locations and due to the high temperatures and fluctuations of rainfall quantities, which, in turn, contribute to the aggravation of the negative impacts of this phenomenon.
The study aims to determine desertification indicators and its degree and extent all over the Kingdom through geological and hydrological studies, and soil, land deterioration, and vegetation cover studies, listed as follows:
Survey and assessment of the current uses of lands.
Determination of the regions exposed to desertification using remote sensing technologies and geographical information systems.
Implementation of the field study that is necessary for the regions exposed to deterioration.
Assessment of the appropriateness of agricultural lands and the optimal recommendation based on their sustainable development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Preparation of a program for the monitoring of the deteriorated lands in addition to the monitoring sand dunes on main roads, construction sites, and residential areas.
Setting up of appropriate scientific solutions and recommendations to eliminate the spread of desertification and preserve those areas that will be exposed to deterioration in the future.
Creation of maps for the areas with vulnerable ecosystems desertification and monitoring the changes that may occur.