Ecology and Management of the Saiq Plateau Rangelands, Oman

Michael D. Robinson, Laila S. Al Harthi


The high-elevation rangelands of the Saiq Plateau are degraded and require new management strategies. Three livestock species consume many of the same plants throughout the year, placing continual grazing pressure on the ecosystem. Plant canopy cover is generally low (0-13%) and large areas of bare soil exist between perennial vegetation. Soils are shallow, erosive and low in organic matter. The poor ecological condition of the range poses a threat to endangered and endemic mountain species, contributes to eutrophication of freshwater and decreases animal production and income for local farmers. Feral donkeys must be removed from the environment, goat and sheep herds reduced to levels sufficient to sustain their owners, and traditional livestock-free pastures should be resumed. This or similar management plans could restore the natural vegetation in 10-20 years.


Oman Rangeland Ecology; Livestock Management; Soil Management; Saiq Plateau


Adams, R.P.; Al-Farsi, A.; and Schwarzbach, A.E. 2014. Confirmation of the southern-most population of Juniperus seravschanica in Oman by DNA sequencing of nrDNA and four cpDNA regions. Phytologia 96: 218-224.

Alipayo, D.; Valdez, R.; Holecheck, J.; and Cardenas, M. 1992. Evaluation of microhistological analysis for determining ruminant diet botanical composition. Journal of Range Management 45: 48-52.

Al Awadhi, J.M.; Omar, S.A. and Misak, R.F. 2005. Land degra-dation indicators in Kuwait. Land Degradation & Development 16: 1-14.

Al Harthi, L.; Robinson, M.D. and Mahgoub, O. 2008. Diets and resource sharing among livestock on the Saiq Plateau, Jebel Akhdar Mountains, Oman. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 34: 113-120.

Barth, H.1999. Desertification in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. Journal of Arid Environments 43: 399-410.

Chaudhary S.A. and Le Houerou, H.N. 2006. The rangelands of the Arabian Peninsula. Secheresse 17: 179-194.

Cope, T.A. 1985. A Key to the Grasses of the Arabian Peninsula. Studies in the Flora of Arabia. XV. Arab Gulf Journal of Scientific Research, Special Publication No. 1. 82 pages. Riadh, Saudi Arabia.

El Kharbotly, A..; Mahgoub, O.; Al Subhi, A.; Al Halhali, A. 2003. Indigenous grass species with potential for maintaining rangeland and livestock feeding in Oman. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 95 623-627.

Le Houerou, H. 1989. The Grazing Land Ecosystems of the African Sahel. Springer-Verlag, New York. 172 pages

Le Houerou, H. 1995. Eco-climatic and bio-geographic comparison between the rangelands of the iso-climatic Mediterranean arid zone of northern Africa and the Near East. Pages 25-40. In: Omar, S.; Razzaque, M.; and Alsdirawi, F. (Editors) Range Management in Arid Zones. Kegan Paul, London. 307 pages.

MacArthur, R. and Levins, R.1967. The limiting similarity, convergence and divergence of coexisting species. American Naturalist 101: 377-385.

Mandaville, J.P. Jr. 1977. Plants. Pages 229-267. In: Harrison, D.L. (Editor). The Scientific Results of the Oman Flora and Fauna Survey 1975. The Journal of Oman Studies Special Report No. 1. Ministry of Information and Culture, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. 312 pages.

Miller, A.G. and Cope, T.A. 1996. Flora of the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra. Volume 1. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. 586 pages.

Mirreh, M.M. and Al Diran, M.S. 1995. Effect of protection and grazing pressure in the desert rangelands of Al Jouf region, Saudi Arabia. Pages 189-194, In: Omar, S., Razzaque, M. and Alsdirawi, F. (Editors). Range Management in Arid Lands. Keegan Paul International, London. 307 pages.

Mishra, C., 2004. Competition between domestic livestock and wild bharal Pseudois nayaur in the Indian Trans-Himalaya. Journal of Applied Ecology 73: 344-354.

Omar, S 1991. Dynamics of range plants following 10 years of protection in arid rangelands of Kuwait. Journal of Arid Environments 21: 99-111.

Patzelt, A. 2014. Oman Plant Red Data Book. Oman Botanic Garden Publication No.1, Diwan of Royal Court, Oman Botanic Garden, Sultanate of Oman. 310 pages.

Robinson, M. and Al Busaidi, B. 2009. An assessment of rangeland vegetation on Saiq Plateau, Jebel Akhdar, Oman. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Science 35: 313-320.

Robinson, M. and Al Nabhani, S. 2009. An assessment of rangeland soils on the Saiq Plateau, Jebel Akhdar, Oman. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Science 35: 321-327.

Schlecht, E.; Dickhoefer, U.; Gumpertsberger, E. and Buerkert, A. 2009. Grazing itineraries and forage selection of goats in the Al Jebal al Akhdar mountain range of northern Oman. Journal of Arid Environments 73:355-363.

Schhreiber, J. 2004. Archaeological reconnaissance at Izki and the Jebel Akhdar. Transformation processes of oasis settlement in Oman. 2004 third stage. A preliminary report. Occident & Orient (The German Protestant Institute of Archaeology, Amman) 9: 6-11.

Shaltout, K.H.; El-Halawany, E.F., and El Kady, H. F. 1996. Consequences of protection from grazing on diversity and abundance of the coastal lowland vegetation in eastern Saudi Arabia. Biodiversity and Conservation 5: 27-36.

Zaibet, L.; Dharmapala, P.; Boughanmi, H.; Mahgoub, O. and Al Marshudi, A. 2004. Social changes, economic performance and development: the case of goat production in Oman. Small Ruminant Research 54: 131-140.

Zaman, S.1997. Effects of rainfall and grazing on vegetation yield and cover of two arid rangelands in Kuwait. Environmental Conservation 24: 344-350.

Zaroug, M.G.1995. Rangelands of the southern region of Oman: their characteristics and aspects of development. Pages 139-153. In: Omar,D., Razzaque,M., and Alsdirawi, F. (Editors). Range Management in Arid Lands. Keegan Paul International, London. 307 pages

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

COPYRIGHT of this Journal vests fully with the National Instional Institute of Ecology. Any commercial use of the content on this site in any form is legally prohibited.