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Juzur Farasan Biosphere Reserve

The archipelago of Juzur Farasan in Saudi Arabia is a group of islands located at the extreme south-west of the country near the Yemeni border. The 820,000ha area combines marine and terrestrial habitats constituting a complex of important ecosystems in the South Red Sea.

Designation date: 2021

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Regional network: ArabMAB

Ecosystem-based network:



    Surface :
    819,100 ha

    • Core area(s) : 287,600 ha
    • Buffer zone(s) : 285,682 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 3,618 ha

    Location: 16°45'N - 41°55'E


    Administrative authorities

    Dr Mohammad Ali Baha-Aldeen Qurban
    Secretary General
    National Centre for Wildlife

    Tel: +966-11-44-10-369


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    Ecological Characteristics

    The Farasan Islands feature rare and endemic species of both flora and fauna that contribute to making this first biosphere reserve in Saudi Arabia, an exceptional site. It is notably home to three of Saudi Arabia’s 13 recorded stands of the threatened red mangrove Rhizophora mucronate, as well as a relict population of Dugong dugon listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, the largest population of Idmi gazelle in the country and various species of seabirds (nesting pink-backed pelican, osprey, crab-plover), marine species (several dolphin species, whales, hawksbill sea turtles, corals and manta rays) and reptiles.






    Socio-economic characteristics

    The remoteness of the islands has contributed to the preservation of many ancestral agricultural traditions. Local people still maintain built terraces and employ traditional irrigation systems. Local communities also use traditional forms of small-scale, subsistence agriculture in areas where shallow wells are maintained and used to irrigate local plants varieties including cereals and vegetables.






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    Last updated: June 2022