Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Saline Agriculture in the Arabian Peninsula: Management of Marginal Lands and Saline Water Resources

Author
item Jaradat, Abdullah

Submitted to: International Journal of Food, Agriculture, and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 15, 2005
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/19158
Citation: Jaradat, A.A. 2005. Saline agriculture in the Arabian Peninsula: Management of marginal lands and saline water resources. Journal of Food, Agriculture, and the Environment. 3(2):302-306.

Interpretive Summary: The growing regional realization that productive lands are limited and fresh water resources in much of the Arabian Peninsula are overexploited called for the utilization of marginal lands and saline water resources for forage and crop production, coastal landscaping, sand dune stabilization and to combat desertification. Land and renewable fresh water resources are limited and are being exploited at a rapid rate, with agriculture utilizing >85% of fresh water resources. Consequently, policy makers and planners were forced to search for alternative natural resources for agricultural production. Saline and brackish water resources, marginal lands and plants capable of growing and producing an economic crop under the harsh climate of the Arabian Peninsula are abundant and expected to alleviate the mounting pressures on fresh water resources and prime agricultural lands. There is a need to demonstrate the value of saline water resources for the production of environmentally and economically useful plants and crops and to transfer the results to national research services and communities in the Arabian Peninsula and elsewhere. Accumulated scientific knowledge on and availability of salt-tolerant plants along with the need for new management practices appropriate for biosaline agriculture justified this approach in order to develop, coordinate and disseminate information on biosaline agricultural technology. However, there is still a critical lack of applied research that combines biological, physical, economic and social variables at the farm level. A strategy was designed to develop improved irrigation systems, water management, control of salinity within the root zone, and utilization of genetic resources of salt-tolerant plants and halophytes. This integrated and holistic approach reflects local and regional ecosystems' relationships, addresses the long-term sustainability of saline agriculture and aims at (1) developing models, predictions and decision-support systems for saline agriculture and (2) providing flexible and efficient means for evaluating alternative options in saline agricultural production. The information and packages of production practices will result in sustainable use of saline water resources and will be of direct value to specific eco-geographical and socio-economic regions, extension agents and subsistence farmers.

Technical Abstract: Productive land and renewable fresh water resources in the Arabian Peninsula (AP) are limited and are being exploited at a rapid rate, with agriculture utilizing >85% of fresh water resources. Saline and brackish water resources, marginal lands and plants capable of growing and producing an economic crop under the harsh conditions of the AP are abundant and expected to alleviate the mounting pressures on fresh water resources and prime agricultural lands. There is a need to demonstrate the value of saline water resources for the production of environmentally and economically useful plants and crops and to transfer the results to national research services and communities in the AP. A strategy was designed to utilize the rapid advances in the use of saline water for irrigation, including development of improved irrigation systems, water management, control of salinity in root zone, and utilization of genetic resources of salt-tolerant plants and halophytes. An integrated and holistic approach that reflects local and regional ecosystems' relationships is proposed. It addresses the long-term sustainability of saline agriculture and aims at developing models, predictions and decision-support systems to further focus attention on gaps in existing knowledge and provides flexible and efficient means for evaluating alternative options in saline agricultural production in the AP.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page