Dunes and alpha steppes, living ecosystems in the Mediterranean

IUCN has launched two new publications on alpha ecosystems and dunes that aim to contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of these vital ecosystems to the Mediterranean region. 

Doñana dunes in Spain

After months of teamwork with experts from both sides of the Mediterranean, the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med) has presented two new publications on dunes and alpha ecosystems that aim to contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of these ecosystems and provide recommendations for restoration and sustainable management.

Both publications are result of the collaboration between the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID) and IUCN-Med to implement actions that promote sustainable development and efficient use of natural resources in the Mediterranean region, and in particular in the North Africa.

Dune ecosystems play a vital role in coastal protection and prevention of risks mainly caused by sea level rise due to climate change. Their recovery and conservation allow to build resilience and adaptation to climate change and contribute to stabilise our beaches, essential resources for tourism, and provide habitat for plants and animals.

Alpha plants are one of the most representative ecosystems of semiarid areas of the Mediterranean basin. These communities have been used by humans for thousands of years for both the collection and use of their valuable fiber and for grazing, among many other uses. Their preservation and recovery help curb soil erosion and combat desertification, as well as promote rural development, economic resources and generate local employment. The alpha steppes handbook was developed in collaboration with the University of Alicante and the Center for Environmental Studies of the Mediterranean. This publicacion is in available in Spanish, French y Arabic version).

"We hope that the dissemination of this knowledge for practical application in restoration actions contribute to improving the conditions of these ecosystems and thereby, to protect biodiversity and promote human welfare" said Antonio Troya, director of the IUCN Center for Cooperation Mediterranean.

Both publications are mainly devoted to technicians, managers and researchers of coastal dunes and semi-arid steppes of the western Mediterranean with the aim of providing them an useful and practical handbook with information on recent experiences and actions that are increasing the resilience of these ecosystems.

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