RIYADH — The Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Eng. Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification (NCVC), has launched a program to monitor, evaluate and study the vegetation cover areas using remote sensing techniques and artificial intelligence.

The program will also contribute in achieving the goals of the afforestation projects and the Saudi Green Initiative.

The CEO of NCVC Khaled Bin Abdullah Al-Abdulqadir stated that these techniques are targeting to monitor the change in the vegetation cover at the sites of afforestation projects, monitor the land cover and the change in its area, calculate the amounts of rain and the density of vegetation cover, as well as monitoring and controlling the plant health, and many others.

He stated that the AI and the remote sensing techniques contribute in monitoring and following up the mangrove forests extending along the coasts of Saudi Arabia.

This is in addition to following up on afforestation and irrigation works using drones, calculating the number of trees and field achievement percentages, and following up on sand encroachment and its impact on vegetation cover.

The techniques also enable the study of land cover classifications and their suitability for plant species, as well as rates of drought and its impact on vegetation cover, rates of desertification, in addition to analyzing the topographical characteristics, monitoring and evaluating of forest fires, and more.

Al-Abdulqadir said that Saudi Arabia's area is estimated at 2 million square kilometers, and it is characterized by multiple terrains and a diverse vegetation cover that includes several things, of which: forests, pastures, national and wild parks, coasts and islands.

It is noteworthy that the NCVC works to develop, protect and control vegetation sites in Saudi Arabia, rehabilitate degraded ones, and detect encroachments on them.

Among the tasks of the center is also to supervise pasture lands, protect forests and national parks, as well as invest in them, in a way that promotes sustainable development that improves the quality of life in accordance with the goals of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030.

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