The spatiotemporal variability of vegetation in the Middle East was investigated for the period 2001–2019 using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) 16-day/500 m composites of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI; MOD13A1). The results reveal a strong increase in NDVI coverage in the Middle East during the study period (R = 0.75, p-value = 0.05). In Egypt, the annual coverage exhibits the strongest positive trend (R = 0.99, p-value = 0.05). In Turkey, both the vegetation coverage and density increased from 2001 to 2019, which can be attributed to the construction of some of the biggest dams in the Middle East, such as the Atatürk and Ilisu dams. Significant increases in the annual coverage and maximum and average NDVI in Saudi Arabia are due to farming in the northern part of the country for which groundwater and desalinated seawater are used. The results of this study suggest that one of the main factors affecting vegetation coverage in the Middle East are governmental policies. These policies could lead to an increase in vegetation coverage in some countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, and Turkey.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other