Anthropogenic Factors Affecting the Vegetation Dynamics in the Arid Middle East

Iman Rousta, Haraldur Olafsson, Hao Zhang, Md Moniruzzaman, Piotr Baranowski, Jaromir Krzyszczak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The spatiotemporal variability of vegetation in the Middle East was investigated for the period 2001-2019 using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) 16-day/500 m composites of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI; MOD13A1). The results reveal a strong increase in NDVI coverage in the Middle East during the study period (R = 0.75, p-value = 0.05). In Egypt, the annual coverage exhibits the strongest positive trend (R = 0.99, p-value = 0.05). In Turkey, both the vegetation coverage and density increased from 2001 to 2019, which can be attributed to the construction of some of the biggest dams in the Middle East, such as the Atatürk and Ilisu dams. Significant increases in the annual coverage and maximum and average NDVI in Saudi Arabia are due to farming in the northern part of the country for which groundwater and desalinated seawater are used. The results of this study suggest that one of the main factors affecting vegetation coverage in the Middle East are governmental policies. These policies could lead to an increase in vegetation coverage in some countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, and Turkey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-805
Number of pages32
JournalEnvironmental and Climate Technologies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Iman Rousta et al., published by Sciendo.

Other keywords

  • Governmental policy
  • Middle East
  • Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
  • Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
  • Time series analysis


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