Earth Systems and Environment

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 471–482 | Cite as

Off-Road Vehicle Tracks and Grazing Points in Relation to Soil Compaction and Land Degradation

  • Ali M. Al-DousariEmail author
  • Abeer Alsaleh
  • Modi Ahmed
  • Raafat Misak
  • Noor Al-Dousari
  • Fatma Al-Shatti
  • Mohamed Elrawi
  • Teena William
Original Article


The land degradation in Kuwait presents into two main forms, namely, soil compaction and loss to native plants. These two forms of land degradation are highly related to off-road vehicle tracks and grazing points. Therefore, the off-road vehicle tracks and grazing points were delineated for the first time within all Kuwait using Worldview and Rapid Eye images 2017 and ArcGIS. There is 871,811 grazing livestock (sheep, goats, and camels) spread into 2473 grazing points was detected in Kuwait open desert in 2017. There are around 354 as average livestock in each grazing point. The total length for off-road vehicle tracks is 14,774.7 km spread over Kuwait which is equivalent to 1.16 times more than the length of the planet earth mean diameter. The off-road vehicle tracks and grazing points are a leading cause for land degradation and soil compaction in Kuwait. Aeolian activities were monitored for 1 year at downwind of an off-road vehicle track at 10 m, 50 m, and 200 m. The results show more quantities of mobile sand, and dust was trapped at 10 and 50 m compared with the 200 m distance from off-road vehicle track. Consequently, the total area affected by soil compaction due to off-road vehicle tracks and grazing points in Kuwait is 1390.23 km2 representing 7.8% of the total area of Kuwait. It is concluded that grazing points and off-road vehicle tracks are highly related to each other, and both are jumped to higher densities around the urban area and watering points. As a result, it is strongly recommended to develop a national action plan to control off-road vehicle tracks and grazing points by putting into practice a proper rangeland management plan in Kuwait. Steps of the action plan were outlined for this study.


Land degradation Soil Compaction Off-road vehicle tracks Overgrazing Aeolian Kuwait 



The author wishes to thank Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) for funding and supporting this project with a Grant number: 2011/EC085C.


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Copyright information

© King Abdulaziz University and Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Crisis Decision Support (CDS)Kuwait Institute for Scientific ResearchKuwait CityKuwait
  2. 2.Desert Research CenterMatariaEgypt
  3. 3.Geography DepartmentAswan UniversityAswanEgypt

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