Conserving wild plants and habitats for people across the Mediterranean

This project represents an ambitious initiative to develop plant conservation actions in the South and East of the Mediterranean region (including north Africa, middle east and Balkans) combining the experience and expertise of Plantlife International and IUCN.

Buntrinti, IPA Photo: REC Albania

Context and challenges

The Mediterranean basin is one of the world’s major centres of plant diversity, with 10% of the world’s higher plants. The flora has around 25'000 species with exceptionally high endemicity; approximately 13'000 species are found only within the Mediterranean region. A series of partnership studies carried out across the region involving Plantlife, WWF and IUCN; North Africa and the Middle East, Balkan countries, and Turkey, has begun to document the diversity on the best sites for wild plants (Important Plant Areas) and have demonstrated that despite the importance of the Mediterranean flora in defining the region as a biodiversity hotspot, there is a lack of capacity to undertake plant conservation.

Many of the Important Plant Areas in the Mediterranean region contain plants that support livelihoods, it is critical that these plant resources are managed properly to secure the livelihoods they support for the long term alongside safeguarding the biodiversity.

Objectives

The project will focus on Important Plant Areas (IPAs); sites of international importance for plants - a sub set of Key Biodiversity Areas. IUCN and Plantlife will work together with IUCN Members of the Mediterranean Plant Specialist group and numerous in-country partner organisations, to help and encourage public citizens, management authorities, local and national governments, experts and NGOs to conserve Important Plant Areas.

Initially knowledge of the distribution and status of plant species and habitats on IPAs will be built across the Mediterranean region; but central to the project is the implementation of positive conservation actions at site level to mitigate threats to plant diversity. These will be undertaken by management authorities and citizens on selected IPAs in Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Montenegro, Turkey, Croatia and Macedonia (FYR).

We will use these IPA conservation projects to demonstrate what may be possible across the region when authorities and citizens are empowered to work together for plants.

Results

• Documenting the status and distribution of selected plants species and habitats, including list of selected restricted range endemics and habitat distribution to be used as tool for conservation and management.
• Undertaking plant conservation and management actions on selected IPAs with a variety of stakeholder groups including civil society, research institutions and public administrations.
• Ensuring results are used to influence relevant policy mechanisms at national, regional and global level; and improve communication mechanisms and networking among practitioners for the plant conservation.
• Building the capacity of stakeholders to undertake plant conservation activities, and enhancing the network of people, institutions and governments involved in plant biodiversity conservation in the South and East Mediterranean (through all work packages).

Areas of Work

The countries and territories of activities implementation are: Algeria, Lebanon, Macedonia, Montenegro, Morocco and Turkey, but the project will work also at a regional scale, with activities involving other territories Tunisia, Libia, Egypt, Palestine, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania.

Partners/Donors

The project will be a partnership between Plantlife International, IUCN’s Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, and the SSC Mediterranean Plant Specialist Group with scientific support of IUCN Commissions (SSC, CEM and WCPA), as well as National partners for countries of implementation.

The main donor: MAVA Foundation.

Duration

The project is scheduled over a three year period (September 2014 – Sept 2017).

For further information:
Marcos Valderrábano

Work area: 
Members
Location: 
Mediterranean
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