Identification of important plant areas and habitats in North Africa and Middle East

Important plant on Ulcinj Long beach (Montenegro) - Calystegia soldanella

Technical support to the integration of Red List data on Mediterranean species on the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) ecosystem profile



The Mediterranean basin is one of the world's major centres of plant diversity, where 10% of the world's higher plants can be found in an area representing 1.6% of the Earth's surface. Despite this, precise data on the distribution and status of plants are frequently insufficient, out or date or absent, particularly in the south and east of the region.

The French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement -AFD) has since engaged actively in sustainable development, especially regarding the careful use of ecosystem and the conservation of biodiversity at large. Being aware of the lack of unified data relevant to the distribution and status of plants in the Mediterranean, essential for the definition of conservation priorities, AFD funded the “Identification of the important sites and habitats for plants in North Africa, the Middle East and Albania and their integration, along with Red Lists of the Mediterranean species, in the Ecosystem Profile of the CEPF”, developed by IUCN in 2009, in collaboration with Plantlife International and WWF.

IUCN-Med's role

The conservation of the diversity of life is one of the priorities of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), engaged to provide the necessary knowledge and action for species and ecosystem conservation. The publication on important plant areas has been possible thanks to a joint effort by a number of different experts and institutions involving 10 different countries in the south and east of the Mediterranean region. The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation has been actively supporting this initiative with the conviction that building bridges for sharing knowledge and experience is the way to preserve biodiversity based on science, and a fundamental step for the conservation of one of the planet’s biodiversity hotspots: the Mediterranean.

Objectives and results

  1. The areas and habitats (corridors) important for plants in North Africa, Middle East and in the Balkans have been identified, described, prioritized, cartography had been created and the results are being communicated to key actors.
  2. Technical support has been provided to CEPF for the integration of Species Red List data, of forest habitats and of climate change aspects, in the analysis developed by regional actors for the definition of the Mediterranean Hotspot ecosystem profile.


  1. IUCN members in North Africa and the Mediterranean.
  2. Regional organizations: PlantlifeWWFCEPF
  3. Universities and research centers: Centre for Middle Eastern Plants at the Royal Botanic garden in Edinburgh; University of Reading; IPA team (the full list of universities cooperating in this project, part of the IPAs team, can be found in the IUCN-Med publication).
  4. IUCN Commissions and Programmes: Plant Species Survival Commission.


- Agence Française de Développement (AFD
- Critical ecosystem partnership fund (CEPF)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID)

Duration and budget

Octobre 2009 – Septembre 2011

Budget : 203.500 Euros

For more information:

IUCN-Med receives core financial support from the Ministry of Environment of the Junta de Andalucia, the Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) among others

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