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Protected areas map

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Considering the size of the Kingdom and its biophysical diversity, creating a comprehensive system of protected areas is a formidable task, especially as the system must be appropriate to the social, economic, and cultural characteristics of the Kingdom. The inspired determination of the Authority to conserve and develop the renewable resources of the Kingdom for the sake of all its citizens, has received international acclaim.

Islamic teachings affirm the need to conserve areas for purposes pertaining to the common good. These areas are called hima, which means "protected area" or "reserve". Some traditional himas in Saudi Arabia have been managed sustainably since early Islamic times, and are among the most long-standing examples of rangeland and woodlands conservation known. Within them resource uses such as grazing, woodcutting and hunting have been regulated or excluded in accordance with the long term needs of society, which may range from honey production to woodland conservation to forage reserves for times of drought.


For the selection of sites as protected areas, the Authority has used a number of ecological and socio-economic criteria. These include:

  • Representative coverage of all the Kingdom's biotopes.
  • Protection of existing populations of key wildlife species.
  • Protection of habitats of key biological importance.
  • The potential of the site to provide tangible economic benefits to the local people.
  • Sites which are of greatest value for environmental education and awareness.
  • Recognition of traditional protection by local people.
  • An equitable geopolitical spread of protected areas.

On the basis the Authority has identified 56 terrestrial sites and 47 marine and coastal sites as suitable for proclamation as protected areas. Since it is not feasible to initiate the protection of all these areas at one time, as procedure ahs been developed for setting priorities. This procedure involves weighing the relative merits of the propose sites in terms of the criteria described above, in addition to practical considerations such as the degree of local support, presence or absence of conflicting land uses, logistical ease of protection, and the urgency of threats to the sites and their wildlife populations.

At present the Authority manages 15 protected areas, which have been ratified by its Board of Directors. The Authority's protected areas system plan has recommended over a hundred sites for protection, constitution over 8% of Kingdom . This figure will increase to over 10% as new areas are identified and incorporated into the protected areas system.


Name of Protected Areas
Date Established
Size of Area (km2)
1- Harrat al Harrah
2- Al - Khunfah
3- Ibex Reserve
4- Mahazat as - Sayd
5- Umm al - Qamari
6- Al - Tubayq
7- Farasan Islands
8- Raydah
9- Majami`al - Hadb
10-`Uruq Bani Ma`arid
11- Nafud al - `Urayq
12- At - Taysiyah
13- Saja Um Al-Rimth
14- Jabal Shada
15- Jubail(Not yet adopted by Council of Ministers)



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Last Updated on Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:00
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