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Mediterranean Biogeographical Region

The Mediterranean basin stretches c.3,800 km east to west from the tip of Portugal to the shores of Lebanon and some 1,000 km north to south from Italy to Morocco and Libya. Within the European Union, the Mediterranean Region encompasses seven Member States either partially (France, Portugal, Italy, Spain) or completely (Greece, Malta, Cyprus).

The climate is characterised by hot dry summers and humid, cool winters but it can also be notoriously capricious with sudden torrential downpours or bouts of high winds (eg. the Sirocco, the Mistral) occurring at various times of the year. These climatic conditions have a profound influence on the vegetation and wildlife of the region. So does its varied and contrasting topography – the Mediterranean Region offers an ever changing landscape of high mountains, rocky shores, impenetrable scrub, semi-arid steppes, coastal wetlands, sandy beaches and a myriad islands of various shapes and sizes dotted amidst the clear blue sea.

Contrary to the classic ‘sun, sea and sand’ images portrayed in most tourist brochures, the Mediterranean is surprisingly hilly. One is almost never out of sight of the mountains, even on the islands.

Having escaped the last Ice Age, all these areas harbour their own special kind of wildlife and habitats. As a result, the Mediterranean has not only a very rich biodiversity but also a large number of species that exist here and nowhere else in the world. The rate of endemism is exceptionally high both on land and in the sea. Of the 25,000 flowering plants identified so far–representing around 10% of all known plants on earth – more than half are endemic to the region. Not surprisingly, the Mediterranean is considered one of the top biodiversity hotspots in the world.

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Member States:

CY • FR • GR • HR • IT • MT •  PT •  SI • ES • UK

Lead country: Greece

 

More information:

Ecosystems and Habitats
Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process in the Mediterranean Region
Regional Cooperation
Relevant Projects
Relevant Publications

 

Ecosystems and Habitats

Ecosystems

Habitats

Coastal

1120 submerged Posidonia beds (Posidonion oceanicae)

1110 submerged Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time

1150 tidal Coastal lagoons

1170 submerged Reefs

1310 tidal Salicornia and other annuals colonizing mud and sand

1410 tidal Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi)

1420 tidal Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Sarcocornetea fruticosi)

2110 dune Embryonic shifting dunes

2230 dune Malcolmietalia dune grasslands

2250 dune Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp.

Forest

9320 Olea and Ceratonia forests

9260 Castanea sativa woods

9540 Mediterranean pine forests with endemic Mesogean pines

9330 Quercus suber forests

9340 Quercus ilex and Quercus rotundifolia forests

Freshwater

92A0 Salix alba and Populus alba galleries

92D0 Southern riparian galleries and thickets (Nerio-Tamaricetea and Securinegion tinctoriae)

3290 Intermittently flowing Mediterranean rivers of the Paspalo-Agrostidion

3170 Mediterranean temporary ponds

Grassland, Heaths & Scrubs

6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (important orchid sites)

6220 Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals of the Thero-Brachypodietea

5330 Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub

6310 Dehesas with evergreen Quercus spp

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Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process in the Mediterranean Region

Document library

Background documents First Mediterranean Seminar (2014)

Background documents Second Mediterranean Seminar (2017)

 

Discussion Forum

Sub-forum dedicated to the Mediterranean biogeographical region

 

 Preparatory / Follow up actions

 

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Relevant Projects

Site management

 

Species conservation and management 

 

Forest and woodland

 

Coastal dunes

 

Coastal lagoons and salt pans

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Relevant Publications

  • Network of Marine Protected Area Managers in the Mediterranean (MedPAN) - Newsletter
  • CypFire Project (MED Programme) produced two useful publications: "Barriers of cypress: a preventive and economic measure against forest fires", and "Monumental Trees and Mature Forests Threatened in the Mediterranean Landscapes"; these can be viewed or downloaded here.
  • EEA (2002) Europe's biodiversity - biogeographical regions and seas: The Mediterranean Region pdf

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