Yemen's main environmental problems have long been scarcity of water, soil erosion, and desertification. Water pollution is a problem due to contaminates from the oil industry, untreated sewage, and salinization The nation has 4.1 cubic kilometers of renewable water resources with 92% used for farming activity and 1% for industrial purposes.
Natural forests in mountainous areas have been destroyed by agricultural clearing and livestock overgrazing. The National Environmental Council, established in 1976, disseminates information on conservation. In response to the nation's environmental needs, the government of Yemen has created laws governing the use of the country's water supply. Law Number 42 (1991) protects water and marine life.
As of 2001, 5 mammal species and 13 bird species are listed as threatened. Endangered species include the northern bald ibis, the South Arabian leopard, slender-billed curlew, and two species of turtle (green sea and hawksbill). Queen of Sheba's gazelle and the Sa'udi Gazelle have become extinct in the wild.