The National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification has announced a 600% increase in the vegetation cover in the Makkah region over the past five months from August to December 2023. This increase is attributed to the rainy conditions during this period, with rainfall reaching up to 200 mm in some areas.
Remote sensing data analysis revealed that the total area of vegetation cover in Makkah in August was 3,529.4 square kilometers, representing 2.3% of the total area of the region. This area gradually rose over the following months with increased rainfall, reaching 26,256 square kilometers by the end of the year.
By December 2023, the vegetation cover spanned 17.1% of the total area of the Makkah region, predominantly in the mountains and highlands parallel to the Red Sea coast, with elevations ranging from 500 to 2,600 meters. This includes the governorates of Makkah, Taif, Al Laith, Al Jumum, Al Kamil, and Khulais.
The national center conducts studies on the status of vegetation cover areas and monitors changes at tree-planting project sites. It also tracks land cover changes, calculaties the volume of rainfall and assesses plant health, using remote sensing and artificial intelligence technologies. This contributes to achieving the targets of tree-planting projects and the Saudi Green initiative.
The center is also working on protecting vegetation cover sites in the Kingdom after studying all variables in green spaces, and developing capabilities to prepare for and mitigate drought.