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Mediterranean Forests, woodlands and scrubs

Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and Scrub ecoregions are characterized by hot and dry summers, while winters tend to be cool and moist. Most precipitation arrives during these months.


Only 5 regions in the world experience these conditions: the Mediterranean, south-central and southwestern Australia, the fynbos of southern Africa, the Chilean matorral, and the Mediterranean ecoregions of California. Although the habitat is globally rare, it features an extraordinary biodiversity of uniquely adapted animal and plant species, which can adapt to the stressful conditions of long, hot summers with little rain. Most plants are fire adapted, and dependent on this disturbance for their persistence.


All 5 Mediterranean-climate ecoregions are highly distinctive, collectively harboring 10% of the Earth’s plant species. Phytogeographers consider the Fynbos as a separate floral kingdom because 68% of the 8,600 vascular plant species crowded into its 90,000 kilometer2 are endemic and highly distinctive at several taxonomic levels.

In terms of species densities, this is equivalent to about 40% of the plant species of the United States and Canada combined, found within an area the size of the state of Maine (N. Myers, pers. comm.). The Fynbos and Southwest Australia shrublands have floras that are significantly more diverse than the other ecoregions, although any Mediterranean shrubland is still rich in species and endemics relative to other non-forest ecoregions.

Biodiversity Patterns
Regional and local endemism is common, with some species with highly restricted ranges; high alpha and very high beta diversity, particularly in plants; specialization on soils is common.

Minimum Requirements
Blocks of natural habitat need to be large enough to sustain regular fire events such that unburned patches are left to act as source pools and refugia for vagile species; some species undertake seasonal movements in response to resource availability, thus diverse habitats and natural linkage habitats are important; riparian habitats critical for survival of many species.

Sensitivity to Disturbance
Natural communities are highly sensitive to habitat fragmentation, grazing, and alteration of fire regimes (overburning or fire suppression), native species are particularly at risk from exotic plants and animals that establish and spread with ease in these communities; restoration of communities is feasible but fire regimes must be restored and exotics controlled effectively

Australasia

Southeastern Australia
Southwestern Australia
Eastern part of the southern coast of Australia
Southeastern Australia
Island just off the southern coast of Australia
Southwestern coast of Australia
Southwestern tip of Australia
Southern central Australia, including the Eyre pen
Southeastern Australia
Western Australia

Afrotropical

South Africa
South Africa
Albany thickets

Neotropical

Southeastern South America: Central Chile

Palearctic

Western Europe and Northern Africa: parts of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Morocco
Western Asia: Southern Turkey into Syria, Lebanon, Israel
Western Europe: Southeastern Spain
Southern Europe: Southern Italy
Pindus Mountains mixed forests
Southwestern Europe: Northwestern Spain and northeastern Portugal
Western Europe: Northeastern Spain and southern France
Northern Africa: Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia
Northern Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia
Northern Africa: Along the coast of Morocco and on the two easternmost Canary Islands in the eastern Pacific
Southeastern Europe: Northern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and northern Greece
Iberian sclerophyllous and semi-deciduous forests
Iberian conifer forests
Southwestern Asia: Along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Syria
Cyprus Mediterranean forests
Mediterranean Island of Crete
Mediterranean Sea: Corsica Island
Canary Islands dry woodlands and forests
Southeastern Europe: Western Turkey
Southeastern Europe: Along the coastline of Greece and Turkey, stretching into Macedonia