The impact of urbanization on vegetation is poorly studied in sparsely vegetated desert steppe-type vegetation. This study investigates the spatial and temporal impacts of urbanization over 40 years on plant species in Dhofar’s mountains, plains, and bay areas. Satellite images covering 1978 to 2018 were used as Remote Sensing (RS) tools, along with Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques, to detect changes in vegetation patterns. The results showed an increase in urban development in Dhofar over the 40 years, reaching 173.3%, which contributed to the decline in vegetation cover of 36.4%. However, both percentages indicate that other factors, including climate change, have also impacted the vegetation. It was found that air temperature in the study area increased from 1978 to 2018 by 0.8 °C, whereas precipitation decreased by 104 mm. The results also indicate a 23.2% and 18.5% reduction in plant species in coastal areas and mountains, respectively, between 1978 and 2018 due to the increase in urbanization. This warns of the impact of urban expansion on rare plant species in the governorate, as 48 plant species only found in Dhofar are threatened with extinction due to construction and urbanization. We recommend making the biodiversity of Dhofar a priority in developing any urban projects, especially at sites that house rare species.
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