High altitude deserts and wadis
The South Sinai Protectorates contain varied ecosystems and habitat types. Management of these vast areas is based on the premise that all contained habitats are linked by physical and biological processes.
High altitude deserts and connecting wadi systems form catchment watersheds, providing fresh water to habitats at lower elevations. The highlands provide for a multitude of micro-habitats supporting flora and fauna that are well adapted to this environment. During infrequent winter rains, flash floods will wash through wadis transporting seeds and organic materials to lowland areas. Gravels and sands are also transported. These will be deposited in downstream areas often establishing new areas for plant growth. Small, shaded indentations on hillsides will retain water for extended periods and serve as water reservoirs for local fauna. When water and forage is scarce these animals move to lowland areas.
Dunes and alluvial fans
Above: Sinai Agama
The combined actions of temperature changes, wind and rain have eroded mountain areas and transported rocks and gravel (alluvium) down wadi systems to the coast. The depth of alluvium in wadi beds can exceed 150 meters.
The material often serves as an aquifer, providing fresh water to downstream settlements and stands of vegetation. In the case of Wadi Kid in the Nabq Protectorate water, found at a depth of 56 meters, supplies the Khereiza village, vegetation on the alluvial fan and finally provides the conditions needed for the coastal mangroves.
Reefs and mangroves
Coral reefs and mangrove areas are often considered as distinct coastal ecosystems isolated from inland ecosystems. In reality, they are closely linked, dependent on, or affected by natural events or human induced changes taking place inland.
Mangroves require the organic and inorganic substances carried to them by rainstorms and floods. Following the heavy rains of December 1993, it was found that the number of mangroves shoots increased dramatically. The increase was attributed to large volumes of fine, nutrient rich sediment carried by floods to the area.
Last Updated: June 15th, 2011
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