War-induced soil degradation, depletion, and destruction (the case of ground fortifications in the terrestrial environment of Kuwait)

R. Misak, D. Al-Ajmi*, A. Al-enezi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


The terrestrial environment of Kuwait covers about 80% of the total area of the state of Kuwait (about 18,000 km2). This environment is one of the most highly fragile systems in the region. About 34% of the soils and 39% of the vegetation of the mentioned terrestrial ecosystem are highly vulnerable to degradation during the dry season (May-September). Moreover, some 35% of the total area of the terrestrial ecosystem of Kuwait is undergoing wind erosion while water erosion affects less than 10%. There is a small zone of tension where both wind and water erosion are operating. In this environment, about 19 land-use types were identified (rangeland constitutes about 75%), and eight major soil classes were identified. Some eight major vegetation units were mapped in the mentioned environment. As a result of the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait (August 2, 1990-February 26, 1991), the surface of Kuwait has been intensively disrupted by complex systems of ground fortifications. These resulted in drastic damages to the desert surface and its ground cover. The magnitude of environmental damages caused by ground fortifications varies in the different units of the terrestrial environment of Kuwait. It depends on several interconnected factors including type and density of ground fortifications, nature of soils, types and density of vegetation cover, geographical location and others. Generally, the ground fortifications have both onsite and offsite impacts. The onsite impacts include terrain deformation, destruction of vegetation, and the deterioration of the physical properties of soils. The offsite impacts include aeolian sand transport and accumulation and sand and dust storms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Consequences of War and Aftermath
EditorsTarek Kassim, Damia Barcelo, Damia Barcelo
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameHandbook of Environmental Chemistry, Volume 3: Anthropogenic Compounds
Volume3 U
ISSN (Print)1433-6847


  • Environmental damage
  • Ground fortifications
  • Onsite and off site impacts
  • Terrestrial environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry


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