Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Qatar is a peninsula located on the west bank of the Arabian Gulf, and is connected by land to Saudi Arabia (Arabian peninsula) on it's southern border. It has an arid climate, hot between June and August and pleasant between November and February, the average maximum and minimum temperatures being 31ºC and 22ºC respectively. The average annual rainfall is 81mm. The area of Qatar is 11,437 square kilometers.
The country has very little variations in its geography, most of the surface being plain with small, scattered carbonate mountains in the north (Dukhan area) and sand dunes in the south East (Ummsaieed, Khor-aludaid). The remaining areas have either stony (Hazm) or soft soil areas (Rowadh). The plants found are scattered, but are somewhat more frequent in the rich soil areas (Rawdah). There are no rivers or lakes in the country, thus the primary source of water comes from rainfall and ground water.
The flora and fauna of Qatar are unique and well adapted to the hot and arid environment. The basic habitat types found in Qatar include mangroves, sabkha, sand dunes, Hammada desert (rocks and gravel), rocky ecosystems, wadies and runnels, and depressions that collect fine sand. Approximately 1,900 wild species have been documented in Qatar, including 1,000 terrestrial and 900 marine species. The biodiversity inventory indicates that about 78% of terrestrial species in Qatar are rare. Eight species of mammals, 242 species of birds, 29 reptelian species, one aphibian and 228 species of invertebrates, have been recorded in the terrestrial ecosystems of the country so far. The flora consists of 371 species of flowering plants.
The endangered species in Qatar include the Arabian oryx, Greater spotted eagle and Corn crake. The country is particularly rich in its marine habitats and biodiversity including: barchan dunes, sea grass beds, coral reefs, and mangrove swamps. About 995 marine species have been identified in Qatar, including 379 species of invertebrates and 20 species of birds. Globally endangered marine species such as the Hawksbill turtle, Leatherback turtle and Dugong are found in the waters of Qater. Habitat reduction, a result of modern development, has emerged as a significant threat to the biodiversity of the country.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
Qatar has established 5 terrestrial protected areas accounting for about 18% of the total land area, and 3 marine protected areas, nearly all habitat types being represented in the protected areas (PA) network. Two new sites are being proposed for designation as PAs.