Supporting dryland research


Aramco Asia Japan (AAJ) partnered with Arid Land Research Center (ALRC), Tottori University in supporting the center’s dryland research in 2016.

Approved as the “Joint Usage/Research Center” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, ALRC is the only institute in Japan specializing in dryland research, with some of its works receiving recognition globally.

Sand certainly is synonymous with Saudi Arabia’s landscape. On the other hand, Japan is known for its lush greenery and waterways. No desert exists in the country. However, there are more than 30 sand dunes nestled along the shoreline of Japan—mound-shaped or bank-like terrain features created by sand accumulation from wind.

Yamanaka Norikazu takes a photo of an Arabian Toad-headed Agama at the Shaybah Wildlife Sanctuary.

Through AAJ, ALRC has established contact with Saudi Aramco's Environmental Protection Department (EPD), a unit that has a long and established track record in the areas of effective management of sand and desert animals in the Kingdom. 

ALRC and EPD met in Saudi Arabia and had a field trip to Saudi Aramco's Shaybah Wildlife Sanctuary where decades of efforts have been made to restore the endangered species such as Arabian oryx, Arabian sand gazelles, and ostriches. EPD also took ALRC to the mountainous area in the Kingdom to observe traditional wheat growing. For ALRC, in spite of numerous studies overseas using their well-established network, Saudi Arabia was one place left unexplored until then, making the visit extremely special. ARLC published photobooks of dryland, which featured a photo from the visit.

Sharing knowledge for tomorrow

ALRC has been publishing a series of Photobooks of Drylands to introduce the nature and people's lives in drylands, as well as the serious problems like desertification through many images taken during field research in various countries.

In March 2020, the latest photobook was released titled "Salinization in Drylands” which focuses on salt accumulation in drylands with the support of Aramco Asia Japan. Recognized its initiatives, this book was honorably registered in the Knowledge Hub and Library of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Prof. Yamanaka said: “I hope that this will encourage future collaboration between ALRC and Aramco in terms of data/information sharing and facilitating research projects in Saudi Arabia and Japan.”