The Republic of Yemen is one of the Arab countries on the western side of Asia. The country is the second largest country in the Arabian Peninsula with a total area of 527,970 square kilometers. The country is bordered to the east by Oman, to the north by Saudi Arabia, to the south by the Arabian Sea, and the west by the Red Sea. Its coastline stretches along for a length of around 2,000 kilometers. The country is divided into four main geographical regions. Namely, these include the Rub al Khali, Western Highlands, Coastal Plains, and Eastern Highlands. Vegetation in the country is a mixture of those of the Sahara-Arabia region, Sudanese plants, and tropical African flora. Yemen is divided into several ecological regions, the most notable of which are discussed below.
Arabian Desert and East Sahero-Arabian Xeric Shrublands
The Arabian Desert and East Sahero-Arabian Xeric Shrublands is the largest region in the country, stretching from Yemen to Arabian Gulf. It covers parts of other countries as well, such as Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. The region covers an area of 185,132,350 hectares, and the ecological zone is palearctic characterized by bodies of sand. The ecological region supports very few biodiversity with only endemic plants growing there. Animals such as the Oryx, gazelle, sand cat, jackal, and hyena are also found in the region. Daytime temperatures can rise to above 50 degrees due to the low elevation. The region faces ecological threats from agricultural projects, military activities, oil production, and overgrazing of camels.
Arabian Peninsula Coastal Fog Desert
The Arabian Peninsula Coastal Fog Desert ecological region is on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The region is covered by fog most of the time thus reducing visibility significantly. The fog provides enough moisture to support plants such as shrubs, grassland, and woodland. The vegetation varies featuring dense woodland of Acacia Senegal and thorny Commiphora trees. Mammals such as Oryxes, gazelles, goat-antelopes, and Nubian ibexes are also found in this region. Overgrazing, off-road driving, and encroachment by human development are some of the threats that face Arabian Peninsula Coastal Fog Desert ecological region. The official protected area in Yemen covering this region is Important for a variety of Birds in the region.
Red Sea Nubo-Sindian Tropical Desert and Semi-Desert
The Red Sea Nubo-Sindian Tropical Desert and Semi-Desert ecological region consists of flat desert, and has very limited biodiversity because of its extreme climate. The region can go for years without receiving any rain. Temperatures are particularly high during summer while winters are always extremely cold. The vegetation is pseudo-savanna, characterized by scattered trees, shrubs, herbs, and sometimes grass cover. Some of the plants include acacia with deeper roots. Animals found in this ecological region include Arabian Gazelle, sand gazelle, Dorcas gazelle, sand cat, and fox. The common threat faced by Red Sea Nubo-Sindian Tropical Desert and Semi-Desert region are wildlife poaching and overgrazing that also leads to the destruction of the vegetation. The Environmental Protection Council of Yemen is responsible for the protection and conservation of the region.
Other ecological regions of Yemen include the Socotra Island Xeric Shrublands, the Southwestern Arabian Foothills Savanna, the Southwestern Arabian Montane Woodlands, the Southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Western Arabian Sea. These regions are either terrestrial or marine. These ecological zones are characterized by high temperature, minimum rainfall, and little vegetation. The major threats facing these regions are overgrazing, human encroachment and wildlife poaching