Ensuring the survival of endangered
plants in the Mediterranean


The Mediterranean Basin is made up of a series of territories that surround an almost enclosed sea. The Mediterranean Basin is doubtless a mayor world centre of plant diversity and play a prominent role as reservoir for plant diversity and encourages floral exchange and active plant speciation.

It contains about 10% of the world’s flowering plants in an area representing only 1,6% of the Earth’s surface, specifically it houses some 25,000 species (30,000 taxa including subspecies). Moreover, up to 50% of them are endemic to the region and it is also a major centre of crop origins and diversity.

This region includes a diversity of ecological conditions, a range of different climates and has had a very diverse history. The high degree of human interference and disturbance of the vegetation, a process that dates back over ten thousand years, has been responsible for the transformation of much of the native vegetation and led to the formation of many secondary communities such as the characteristic shrub land communities.

In the Mediterranean Basin, many endemic species occur on islands and or mountains that one might call a form of terrestrial island. Nearly 10,000 islands of all sizes and origin exist in the Mediterranean Basin and their wide ranges of sizes, altitude, substrates and morphologies, as well as human activities, have resulted in the evolution of a highly diversified flora.

Island ecosystems and their flora are, in general, particularly vulnerable and they face threats such as urban development along the coast, pollution, intensification of agriculture and livestock farming, tourism development, water management, fires and invasive species.

Today, many Mediterranean island plants are threatened with extinction. The disappearance of one species often brings along ecosystem changes which magnify the loss and further damage the quality of the environment.