UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory


UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory


Harrat Uwayrid

Harrat Uwayrid first terrestrial inland ecosystem in Saudi Arabai, extends over 4680 km2 at altitudes ranging between 550 meters and 1830 meters. Located at the heart of Mohafazat AlUla, it is acknowledged as the largest biosphere reserve in Saudi Arabia and the region. The landscape of Harrat Uwayrid features rugged terrains and valleys surrounding a volcanic field presenting scoria cones, vast larva flows and tuff cones and occupying a large surface area of 180 kilometers in length and 90 kilometers in width. Harrat Uwayrid biosphere reserve features water-catchment area, wadis, and riparian ecosystems, woodlands with sparse vegetation harboring landraces and economically important plant species, rangelands for both livestock and wild herbivores, and cultivated lands. The area is home to 55 plant species finding specialized ecological niches in the site such as Sinai Thyme (Thymus decussatus), myrh (Commiphora gileadensis) and localized Acacia (Acacia hamulosa). The biosphere hosts 19 mammals’ species of which the Arabian Leopard a globally critically endangered species, considered extinct and observed first in 2017 and in 2020 reported by local community. Other species of great conservation value find their refuge in the biosphere reserve including the regionally endemic Arabian Wolf (Canis lupus arabs), the vulnerable Striped Hyena (Hyaena hyaena), and the regionally threatened Caracal (Felis caracal), the globally vulnerable Arabian Gazelles and Nubian Ibex. Harrat Uwayrid located along the migratory birds flyway, hosts around 43 bird species of which eight soaring raptors such as the Barbary Falcon, Egyptian Vulture, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Black Kite, Yellow-billed Kite, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard and Steppe Eagle. The reserve is home to the globally threatened Egyptian spiny-tailed Lizard.

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