Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests

The Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests, also known as the Eastern Mediterranean conifer-broadleaf forests,[1] is an ecoregion in the eastern Mediterranean Basin. It covers portions of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests
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Turkish Pines (Pinus brutia) near Kessab, Syria
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Ecoregion territory (in purple)
Ecology
RealmPalearctic
BiomeMediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub
Borders
Geography
Area142,284 km2 (54,936 sq mi)
Countries
Conservation
Conservation statusCritical/endangered
Protected1,147 km² (1%)[1]

The ecoregion has a Mediterranean climate, and is part of the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome.

GeographyEdit

The ecoregion covers an area of 143,800 square kilometers (55,500 sq mi). In southern Turkey, it occupies the coastal lowlands between the mountains and the Mediterranean, extending from Antalya to Iskenderun and including the Çukurova plain in between. It then extends eastwards through southern Turkey to where the borders of Iraq, Syria, and Turkey meet, and southwards along the eastern Mediterranean through the Levant – western Syria, Lebanon, West Bank, northern Israel, and the Jordanian Highlands. The Druze Mountains in central Syria are an outlier. Isolated mountaintop pockets (Jabal al-Lawz, etc.) are found in the Midian Mountains and Hijaz Mountains of northwestern Saudi Arabia.[2]

The ecoregion is bounded by forest ecoregions to the north in Anatolia, and deserts to the east and south. The ecoregion covers coastal plains, low mountains, and interior plateaus. The higher elevations in the Taurus Mountains to the north, and the Syrian Coastal Mountains, Lebanon Mountains, and Anti-Lebanon Mountains which run parallel to the Eastern Mediterranean coast, are in the Southern Anatolian montane conifer and deciduous forests ecoregion.

Several large cities are in the ecoregion, including Aleppo, Amman, Gaziantep, and Adana.

ClimateEdit

The ecoregion has a Mediterranean climate, with a mild, rainy winter and hot dry summer. Rainfall varies across the ecoregion. It is generally higher on coastal-facing slopes, ranging from 1,000-1,250 mm annually near Antalya to 650-850 mm in Mersin, Adana, Iskendurun, and coastal Syria and Lebanon. Rainfall is lowest in the eastern and southernmost parts of the ecoregion, with less than 450 mm annually in eastern Anatolia, the interior of Syria, southern Israel and Palestine, and the Jordanian Highlands.[3]

FloraEdit

Major plant communities in the ecoregion include broadleaf sclerophyllous shrublands (maquis and garrigue), pine forests (chiefly of Turkish pine (Pinus brutia) and Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis)), and dry oak (Quercus spp.) woodlands and steppes.

Turkish pine is more common in the Turkish coastal region, and Aleppo pine in the Levant. Neither pine is found naturally in the eastern Mesopotamian part of the ecoregion.

Maquis is found on coastal slopes in southern Anatolia and along the Levantine coast. Maquis is an open-canopied evergreen woodland, with an understory of shrubs, herbs, grasses, and geophytes. The predominant trees are olive (Olea europea), carob (Cerotonia siliqua), Palestine oak (Quercus calliprinos, sometimes classified as Q. coccifera subsp. calliprinos), pistacio (Pistacia terebinthus, sometimes classified as P. palaestina), lentisk (P. lenticus), and Arbutus andrachne. Much of the maquis has been degraded by frequent fires and over-grazing.[3]

The eastern and southernmost portions of the ecoregion are mostly low shrubland and grassland with a semi-desert character.

FaunaEdit

The golden jackal (Canis aureus) has become the top predator in most of the ecoregion. The Caracal (Caracal caracal) can be found in the shrublands and mountains, and wild boar (Sus scrofa) in woodlands and forests. The eastern portion of the ecoregion has scattered populations of spotted hyaena (Hyaena hyaena) and Persian gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa).[3]

The large predators lion (Panthera leo), Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus), wolf (Canis lupus), and cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) have been mostly or completely extirpated from over-hunting and habitat loss.[4][3]

Protected areasEdit

A 2017 assessment found that 1,147 km², or less than 1%, of the ecoregion is in protected areas. Another 1% of the ecoregion had relatively intact habitat but is outside protected areas.[1]

Some protected areas include:

External linksEdit

  • "Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  • World Wildlife Fund, ed. (2001). "Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests". WildWorld Ecoregion Profile. National Geographic Society. Archived from the original on 2010-03-08.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c 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. [1]
  2. ^ "Eastern Mediterranean conifer-broadleaf forests". Ecoregions 2017. Accessed 25 April 2020. [2]
  3. ^ a b c d "Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.
  4. ^ Horowitz, Aharon (2014). The Quaternary of Israel. Academic Press, May 10, 2014.