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Halophytes of SW Asia

Suaeda moschata, Oman (Image: S.A.Ghazanfar, Kew)

Halophytes are plants that are specially adapted to live in saline environments. Salt affected areas amount to about 955 million ha worldwide, with the tropical African, Asian and Arabian deserts constituting a major part of this area. In semi arid areas about 30% of all irrigated land suffers from salinization, and with the present trend in global warming and climate change towards aridity, more and more land will eventually become saline.

Information on saline ecosystems, especially in SW Asia, correct identification of plants that grow there, and their uses is greatly scattered or lacking. The primary aim of this checklist is to understand and correctly identify the plants that tolerate saline conditions in SW Asia, provide full synonymy, their conservation status and distribution, and to review and collate the available information on saline ecosystems.


Key papers published 2006-2010:

  • Ghazanfar, S.A. and H.J. Beentje (2010). Sabkha regions of Tropical East Africa. In: G.H. Barth & B. Boer (eds) Sabkha ecosystems. Volume 1I1, Africa. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.
  • Ghazanfar, S.A. & Osborne, J. (2010) Restoring Saline Habitats: Identification and name changes in halophytes of the Arabian Peninsula. In: Munir Ozturk, Ahmet Ruhi Mermut, Ali Celik (eds), Urbanisation, Land Use, Land Degradation and Environment. New Delhi, NAM S&T Centre.
  • Ghazanfar, S.A. (2006). Sabkha regions of Iraq. In: M.A. Ajmal, B. Boer & H.-J. Barth (eds) Sabkha ecosystems. Volume 11: West and Central Asia. Springer. Pp. 211–217.
  • Ghazanfar, S.A. (2006). Saline and alkaline vegetation of NE Africa and the Arabian Peninsula: an overview. In: M. Orzturk, Y. Waisel, M.A. Khan & G. Gork (eds), Biosaline agriculture and salinity tolerance in plants. Birkhaeuser Publishing Ltd. Pp. 101–108.
  • Ghazanfar, S.A. (2002). The Sabkha vegetation of Oman. In: G.H. Barth & B. Boer, B. (eds) Sabkha ecosystems. Volume 1, The Arabian Peninsula and adjacent countries. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic. 99–107.

Project partners and collaborators


Dr Ahmet Aksoy
Dr Ernaz Altundag


Dr Hossein Akhani


Dr Ajmal Khan