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Environ Res ; 219: 114955, 2023 02 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36495962


Hydrocarbon-contaminated soils are considered as one of the major environmental issues that harm human well-being, particularly in arid regions of the world. Phytoremediation is a possible mitigation measure for this issue and has been suggested as it is cost-effective compared with other remediation technologies for soil clean-up, such as soil thermal treatment and soil washing. However, there are still gaps in the literature regarding the behavior of annual and perennial desert plants and their ability to survive in hydrocarbon-contaminated soils in arid ecosystems. Therefore, this study aims to develop an integrated approach using remote sensing techniques to understand the behavior of annual and perennial desert plants over different types of oil-contaminated soils (oil tarcrete, wet-oil lake, bare soil, and vegetation cover) in the Kuwait Desert and to explore the impact of climate and physical soil properties on the regrowth of native desert plants. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), and ferrous iron (Fe2+) index (FI) were used to determine the changes in oil contamination and vegetation cover from 1992 to 2002, and 2013-2020. Subsequently, statistical tests were performed to determine the influence of climatic and soil physical characteristics on changes in hydrocarbon contamination and desert plant behavior. The results showed that hydrocarbon contamination was high at the study sites in the first six years (1992-1997) after contamination, and then decreased in the following years. However, vegetation cover was low in the first six years but significantly increased after 1998, reaching >65%. It was also found that annual plants had the highest distribution rate compared to perennial plants, which mainly depended on the soil type. We concluded that certain annual and perennial plants could successfully grow over tarcrete-contaminated sites, making these sites more suitable for the restoration of native desert plants than hydrocarbon-contaminated sites. We also observed that the succession process of vegetation growth over hydrocarbon-contaminated soils could be associated with vegetation growth on a clean sediment layer covering the oil layer. Additionally, we observed that the remobilization of aeolian sediment over many contaminated sites in Kuwait resulted in the accumulation of organic matter, plant seeds, and dust particles that create layers of nutrient-rich soil for the initial growth of plants.

Ecossistema , Poluentes do Solo , Humanos , Tecnologia de Sensoriamento Remoto , Poluentes do Solo/análise , Solo , Plantas , Biodegradação Ambiental , Hidrocarbonetos
Sci Total Environ ; 806(Pt 4): 151295, 2022 Feb 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34736754


Food security and water sustainability in arid and semiarid regions are threatened by rapid population growth, declining natural resources, and global climate change. Countries in the arid regions compensate meat import by raising domestic livestock with cultivated green fodder, which diminishes lands for other crops and depletes precious water resources. This study presents for the first time an in-depth integrated food water ecosystem (FWEco) nexus modeling on the feasibility of restoring 10% of Kuwait's desert as grazing rangeland to alleviate water consumption from fodder production. Our results showed that revegetating 10% of the country's land with native species could support up to 23% of domestic livestock through natural grazing at optimal coverage (70%) and high productivity, and decrease water consumption by up to 90%. However, depending solely on natural rainfall is unlikely to achieve the optimal coverage. Strategic supplemental irrigation in the fall season (e.g., October and November) is required to maximize vegetation coverage and enhance food security and water sustainability. Significantly, strategic irrigation results in much lower net water consumption because irrigating native species requires much less water than green fodder cultivation. Therefore, revegetating desert lands with native species to restore their natural grazing service can be a sustainable approach to simultaneously improve food security and water sustainability in arid landscapes.

Conservação dos Recursos Naturais , Ecossistema , Produtos Agrícolas , Clima Desértico , Segurança Alimentar , Água
MethodsX ; 8: 101399, 2021.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34430295


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have started to receive more attention in the ecological field in the past 15 years, as they provide very high-resolution imagery that ranges from meters to millimeters. Very high-resolution multispectral imagery obtained from UAVs can help in assessing and monitoring native desert vegetation. Thus, this study use UAVs to develop a method to estimate the biomass and carbon stock of native desert shrubs. The method integrates different techniques and software to monitor native plants' coverage, biomass, and carbon stock. The techniques used in this work are also applicable for other native desert shrubs in the region and could support ecosystem managers in assessing and monitoring arid ecosystems and restoration and revegetation programs. A three-stage image and data management are discussed, including: (1) fieldwork and image acquisition using UAVs, (2) image pre-processing, and (3) image processing using different techniques and software.•Determining shrub biomass is not restricted to multispectral data only but could be applicable for RGB data since it mainly depends on the DSM and DTM.•Allometric parameters could help in estimating desert shrub biomass which could be measured easily and rapidly using UAV imagery.•SVM Supervised classification could help in distinguishing between native shrubs and grasses.

Plants (Basel) ; 10(5)2021 May 13.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34068447


The rapid assessment and monitoring of native desert plants are essential in restoration and revegetation projects to track the changes in vegetation patterns in terms of vegetation coverage and structure. This work investigated advanced vegetation monitoring methods utilizing UAVs and remote sensing techniques at the Al Abdali protected site in Kuwait. The study examined the effectiveness of using UAV techniques to assess the structure of desert plants. We specifically examined the use of very-high-resolution aerial imagery to estimate the vegetation structure of Rhanterium epapposum (perennial desert shrub), assess the vegetation cover density changes in desert plants after rainfall events, and investigate the relationship between the distribution of perennial shrub structure and vegetation cover density of annual plants. The images were classified using supervised classification techniques (the SVM method) to assess the changes in desert plants after extreme rainfall events. A digital terrain model (DTM) and a digital surface model (DSM) were also generated to estimate the maximum shrub heights. The classified imagery results show that a significant increase in vegetation coverage occurred in the annual plants after rainfall events. The results also show a reasonable correlation between the shrub heights estimated using UAVs and the ground-truth measurements (R2 = 0.66, p < 0.01). The shrub heights were higher in the high-cover-density plots, with coverage >30% and an average height of 77 cm. However, in the medium-cover-density (MD) plots, the coverage was <30%, and the average height was 52 cm. Our study suggests that utilizing UAVs can provide several advantages to critically support future ecological studies and revegetation and restoration programs in desert ecosystems.

J Environ Manage ; 288: 112416, 2021 Jun 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33831641


This study focused on evaluating factors influencing the growth of perennial shrubs by integrating field-based experiments and spatial analysis using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to identify ecological indicators that can help detect potential locations for restoration and revegetation of native plants. The experiment was implemented in the Al-Abduli protected area in Kuwait, which is mainly dominated by a Rhanterium epapposum community (desert shrub). Aerial imagery of the study site was acquired using UAVs during the growing season to estimate the desert shrub biomass and carbon stock. Then, soil samples were collected based on vegetation density to determine the impact of the soil's physical and chemical properties on vegetation biomass, growth, and distribution. It was found that shrub biomass was significantly correlated with crown area and shrub volume. We also observed that annual plants support the growth of perennial shrubs, as the mean shrub height and crown area (CA) are significantly higher, with averages of 0.7 m and 3 cm, respectively, in the presence of high annual plant density. However, shrubs in plots with low annual density had an average shrub height of 0.5 m and CA of 1.4 cm. Annual plants also enhance the soil by providing approximately 50% higher soil moisture, phosphorous (P), organic matter (OM), and carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration. In addition, annual plants are mainly supported by loamy soils in the deeper soil layers. We concluded that locations covered with annual plants represent suitable soils and that this can be considered a biological indicator for convenient locations for restoration and revegetation of native perennial shrubs. Remote sensing technologies could be utilized for initial assessments to detect sites that may support annual plant growth over a large scale for classification as potential restoration and revegetation areas.

Ecossistema , Biomarcadores Ambientais , Biomassa , Clima Desértico , Fósforo , Solo
Remote Sens Appl ; 23: 100557, 2021 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36568404


Law enforcement and massive media awareness, limiting the anthropogenic disturbance, is the way to go for implementing successful desert native vegetation recovery plans. A lesson learned on the resiliency of desert ecosystems throughout studying the native vegetation coverage in the Wadi Al-Batin desert ecosystem during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wadi Al-Batin tri-state desert (89,315 km2) covers the South-western part of Iraq, State of Kuwait, and the North-eastern part of Saudi Arabia. In this study, the spatiotemporal changes in vegetation coverage was detected, by using Sentinel-2A imageries, during the period from 2017 to 2020. For better understanding the impact of associated law enforcement and media practices during COVID-19 pandemic, native vegetation coverage of years with relevant rainfall records were compared. The results revealed that despite receiving the least amount of rain of the three years (≤93 mm), the COVID-19 year (2020) had the highest native vegetation coverage at 28.5% compared with 6% in 2017, and 2% in 2018. These results prove that the main drivers of desert vegetation deterioration are anthropogenic activities, such as quarrying, overgrazing, distractive camping, and off-road vehicle movements. Moreover, the estimated 63% vegetation coverage in Wadi Al-Batin desert in 2019 assures the significant role of precipitation in desert vegetation recovery. This bulk increase in vegetation coverage detected during COVID-19 pandemic shows that the desert vegetation adapts to harsh environments (low rainfall) and rapidly recovers once the source of the disturbance was removed by enforcing the environmental rules. Thus, the protection of natural resources and ecosystems can be achieved through the synergy between governments and civil communities, including intensive awareness of environmental impacts via media, enforcing environmental regulations, and promoting regional collaboration.