by Valderrábano, Marcos, Gil, Teresa, Heywood, Vernon, Montmollin, Bertrand de.
The Mediterranean region is one of the world’s great centres of plant diversity and its benign climates have attracted successive waves of civilisations, which have largely shaped our attitudes and ethics to the present day. Despite the effects of grazing, agriculture, deforestation, pollution, urbanisation and tourism, it has developed a wide array of plant landscapes. It is also one of the cradles of agriculture and a centre of origin and diversification of many of our crop species. Nowhere else on this planet has humankind been so closely and intimately linked to the environment. Despite the undisputed importance of plantlife, conservation policies often neglect plant diversity in priority setting, and concrete strategies to ensure plant conservation are still insufficient to face the growing pressures. The reasons for this situation are complex, including not only sociological and political factors but also scientific and technical ones. The aim of this publication is to provide a snapshot of existing knowledge of plant diversity in the south and east Mediterranean, and to propose strategies and actions that can be taken to enhance plant conservation in the region.