Changes in the invasion rate of Prosopis juliflora and its impact on depletion of groundwater in the northern part of the United Arab Emirates.
Prosopis species were introduced to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) region for desert greening. However, the species now pose a great threat to the native plant diversity. This study used high-resolution satellite imagery (1990-2019) to understand the history and current distribution of Prosopis species and their impact on fresh groundwater. The results show that the Prosopis invasion in the study area reached its maximum expansion rate in 2019 and covered an area of about 16 km2 compared to 0.2 km2 in 1990. The areas near Sharjah Airport, Umm Fannan, and Al Talla, located at a lower elevation of the sand dune area, are heavily invaded. Prosopis groundwater requirement derived using evapotranspiration shows that groundwater consumption has changed drastically after 2010 and consumed about 22.22 million m3 of groundwater in 2019, which is about a 7372% increase in groundwater consumption from the year 1990 to 2019. The results can be useful for setting up a management plan for the sustainable use of this species in the UAE region in particular and other similar countries in the arid land regions that are suffering from freshwater depletion because of Prosopis invasion.