Friday, July 19, 2024


The term "wetland" is used in the sense defined in the text of the Ramsar Convention. Thus, wetlands are "areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres".

Coral reefs and other exclusively marine systems are, however, generally excluded from this definition, and have not been considered in the Directory except in so far as they form an integral part of a site containing more typical wetland habitats. For space reasons, it was impossible to include maps of each country's wetlands.

The Wetlands directory in Arabia follows a format similar to that of RAMSAR wetland directories; thus the greater part of the Directory consists of a series of national reports. Each begins with an introduction which summarizes the general situation of the wetlands and provides information on the institutional and legal base for wetland conservation and research. Then follows a series of accounts of those wetlands which are known or thought to be of greatest importance from the point of view of nature conservation. The site descriptions include basic information on size and location, physical features, ecological features, ownership, degree of protection, land use, threats and conservation values.

The following data categories have been employed in the site accounts:

The name of the wetland with a reference number used in the accompanying map.

The geographical coordinates (Greenwich) and general location of the site

The area of the wetland habitat in hectares. In the case of some rivers and coastal zones, only the approximate length of the site is known

he altitude of the wetland in metres above sea level.

A brief description of the wetland, summarizing the principal physical and ecological features and highlighting the main conservation values

Physical features:
A brief description of the principal physical features of the site, including information on hydrology, soil type and chemistry, water quality, depth, fluctuations and permanence, as well as a note on climatic conditions.

Ecological features:
A brief description of the main habitats and vegetation types present, with information on the dominant plant communities and species present.

Land tenure:
Details of the ownership of the wetland and the ownership of surrounding areas.

Conservation measures taken:
Details of any protected areas established at or around the wetland and any other conservation measures taken at the site.

Conservation measures proposed:
Details of any proposals for the conservation of the wetland.

Land use:
Details of the principal forms of land use and human activities at the wetland and in surrounding areas.

Possible changes in land use:
Any information available on proposed changes in land use and development plans which might affect the ecological character of the wetland.

Disturbances and threats:
Details of existing and possible future threats to the wetland and its wildlife.

Hydrological and biophysical values:
Information on the principal hydrological and biophysical values of the wetland.

Social and cultural values:
Information on the principal social and cultural values of the wetland.

Noteworthy fauna:
The importance of the wetland for wildlife, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and invertebrates.

Noteworthy flora:
Information on any plant species or communities for which the wetland is particularly important.

Scientific research and facilities:
Information on major research activities at the wetland and any existing facilities for research.

Recreation and tourism:
Information on the present and potential use of the wetland for recreation and tourism.



Management authority and jurisdiction:
Details of the authority responsible for the conservation and management of the wetland, and the authority or authorities with territorial and functional jurisdiction over the wetland.

Abbreviated references to published literature and unpublished reports relevant to the site. The references are given in full at the end of each national section.

Reasons for inclusion:
An indication of those features for which the site is considered to be internationally important, with a numerical reference to the criterion or criteria which justify the inclusion of the site in the Directory. The criteria used in the selection process are those developed for the identification of wetlands of international importance for designation under Article 2 of the Ramsar Convention.

These criteria, as adopted by the Fourth Conference of the Contracting Parties in Montreux, Switzerland, in June 1990, are as follows:

(1.) Criteria for representative or unique wetlands.


A wetland should be considered internationally important if:

  1. it is a particularly good representative example of a natural or near?natural wetland,characteristic of the appropriate biogeographical region; or

  2. it is a particularly good representative example of a natural or near?natural wetland, common to more than one biogeographical region; or

  3. it is a particularly good representative example of a wetland which plays a substantial hydrological, biological or ecological role in the natural functioning of a major river basin or coastal system, especially where it is located in a trans border position; or

  4. it is an example of a specific type of wetland, rare or unusual in the appropriate
    biogeographical region.

(2.) General criteria based on plants or animals.

A wetland should be considered internationally important if:

  1. it supports an appreciable assemblage of rare, vulnerable or endangered species or subspecies of plant or animal, or an appreciable number of individuals of any one or more of these species; or

  2. it is of special value for maintaining the genetic and ecological diversity of a region because of the quality and peculiarities of its flora and fauna; or

  3. it is of special value as the habitat of plants or animals at a critical stage of their
    biological cycle; or

  4. it is of special value for one or more endemic plant or animal species or communities.


(3.) Specific criteria based on waterfowl.

A wetland should be considered internationally important if:

  1. it regularly supports 20,000 waterfowl; or

  2. it regularly supports substantial numbers of individuals from particular groups of
    waterfowl, indicative of wetland values, productivity or diversity; or

  3. where data on populations are available, it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterfowl.