Search By:


Administrative Units


Ecological Units

Biodiversity Hotspots

Bio-geographic Zones


Coastal & Marine Eco-systems


Conservation Units

World Natural Heritage Sites

Biosphere Reserves

Tiger Conservation Units

Project Tiger

Project Elephant

Important Bird Areas

Ramsar Sites

Mediterranean Basin Hotspot

Covering an area of 2,085,292 sq km the shorelines of several European and African countries surrounding the Mediterranean sea form a part of this hotspot. Much of the vegetation today consists of hard-leafed or sclerophyllus shrublands known as maquis or matorral, interspersed with agricultural land and evergreen woodlands.

The region has 22,500 plant, 226 mammal, 489 bird, 230 reptile, 79 amphibian and 216 freshwater fish species. Flagship species of trees in the region include Argan trees (Argania spinosa), Cretan date palm (Phoenix theophrasti), oriental sweet gum (Liquidambar orientalis) and cedars (Cedrus libani).

Critically endangered birds in the region include the Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti), Raso Island lark (Alauda razae), the Zino's petrel (Pterodroma Madeira), Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) and ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca). Flagship mammalian inhabitants include the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) the only native monkey known from Europe, the Barbary deer (Cervus elaphus barbarus) and the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), which is the most threatened felid in the world.

Reptiles are represented by tiny, long tailed lizards, stocky poisonous snakes and five species of tortoise-thigh or Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca), Hermann's tortoise (Testudo hermanni), marginated tortoise (Testudo marginata), the endangered Egyptian tortoise (Testudo kleinmanni) and Weissinger's tortoise (Testudo weissingeri), which is an endemic. Amphibians include the disc tongue frogs (Discoglossidae) and one of the world's largest salamanders, the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra).

Deforestation, desertification, tourism, intensive grazing, fires and infrastructure development have been some of the major threats facing this hotspot. Protected areas cover just 90,242 sq km or 4.3% of the hotspot.

[The information has been sourced from the Conservation International website on biodiversity hotspots ( Accessed in February 2008.]

ATREE, Tel: 91-80-23530069, 91-80-23533942