Mediterranean woodlands and forests
Al Bakour escarpment, Jebel Akhdar, Libya
Two coastal enclaves lie further east along the Mediterranean Sea: one along the southeastern Tunisian shore of the Gulf of Gabes
, including the island of Djerba
; and the second in the Jebel Akhdar
mountains along the shore of the Cyrenaica
Peninsula in northeastern Libya.
Foliage and cone of the Aleppo pine
- Xeric pine forests and woodlands: The xeric pine forests are found mainly in the drier interior, near the transition to the Mediterranean dry woodlands and steppe, where rainfall averages 300 to 600 mm per year. The predominant tree is Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis). It is often found in mixed stands with evergreen holm oak (Quercus ilex spp. and Quercus ilex subsp. ballota) and xeric junipers (Juniperus phoenicea and Juniperus oxycedrus). The forests and woodlands have an understory of shrubs, including Cistus, Genista, and rosemary, which also form pockets of shrubland.
- Berber thuya forests and woodlands: These forests and woodlands are found in the milder lowlands of northern Morocco, western coastal Algeria, and pockets in the coastal mountains in northwestern Tunisia, typically on soils derived from limestone. They are characterized by Berber thuya (Tetraclinis articulata), a conifer that can form coppice woodlands. The understory is chiefly of shrubs.
- Cork oak woodlands: are found in low and medium elevations with mild winters and relatively high rainfall (600 to 800 mm), often on soils formed over siliceous rocks. Cork oak (Quercus suber) forests are found on the coastal plains between Casablanca and the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco, and several areas further inland around the Rif and Middle Atlas ranges. They also found on along the Tell Atlas of northern Algeria, and in the Kroumerie and Mogod mountain ranges of northwestern Tunisia.
Cork oak (Quercus suber) is the predominant tree, accompanied by a rich mix of evergreen small trees and large shrubs, including bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), tree heath (Erica arborea), holly (Ilex aquifolium), Phillyrea spp. (Phillyrea angustifolia and Phillyrea latifolia), Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus), hairy broom (Cytisus villosus), and common myrtle (Myrtus communis).
) trees occur in the Mediterranean woodlands and forests ecoregion
- Holm oak and kermes oak forests and woodlands: forests, woodlands, and shrublands of holm oak Quercus ilex) and kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) are the most widespread plant community, found from the coast to the mountains on a variety of climates and soils. Holm oak forests formerly found in lowland areas with deep and humid soils have mostly been displaced by agriculture.
- Wild olive and carob woodlands and maquis: open woodlands of wild olive (Olea europaea europaea and Olea europaea maroccana), and carob (Ceratonia siliqua) once covered lowland areas with deep, drier soils, but these areas have mostly been converted to agriculture. The remaining wild olive and carob woodlands have been transformed by fire, grazing, and firewood collection into maquis shrublands. Wild olives have also been displaced by cultivated varieties to produce olive oil, and carob is harvested for fodder.
The Mediterranean woodlands and forests were once home to several large mammals. Most now have a limited range, and a few are extinct. The Barbary stag
(Cervus elaphus barbarus
) is limited to portions of its former range in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Native carnivores include the striped hyena
) red fox
), common jackal
), common genet
), and Egyptian mongoose
). Smaller mammals include the North African hedgehog
), North African elephant shrew
), Barbary ground squirrel
), and North African gerbil
). The Egyptian wolf (Canis anthus lupaster)
, Barbary leopard (Panthera pardus pardus)
, and Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus)
are endangered, and their range is now limited to small areas. The Atlas bear (Ursus arctos crowtheri)
and Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo)
History, conservation, and current threats This ecoregion is densely settled, and much transformed by agriculture, grazing, fire, and timber cutting and firewood gathering. It is home to several large cities, including Casablanca
, and Fez
in Morocco, Algiers
in Algeria, Tunis
in Tunisia, and Benghazi
A 2017 assessment found that 28,451 km², or 8%, of the ecoregion is in protected areas.
Protected areas include Al Hoceima National Park
and Tazekka National Park
in Morocco, Chrea National Park
, El Kala National Park
, Gouraya National Park
, and Tlemcen National Park
in Algeria, and Bou-Hedma National Park
, Chambi National Park
, Jebel Chitana-Cap Négro National Park
, Jebel Mghilla National Park
, Jebel Serj National Park
, and Jebel Zaghdoud National Park
- ^ a b Eric Dinerstein, David Olson, et al. (2017). An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm, BioScience, Volume 67, Issue 6, June 2017, Pages 534–545; Supplemental material 2 table S1b. 
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Northern Africa: Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia". World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
- ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Alboran Sea. eds. P.Saundry & C.J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC Archived October 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- ^ Blondel, Jacques, James Aronson, Jean-Yves Bodiou, Gilles Boeuf (2010) The Mediterranean Region: Biological Diversity in Space and Time. OUP Oxford, Jan 28, 2010.
Last edited on 24 February 2021, at 11:40
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.