Ensuring the survival of endangered plants in the Mediterranean - Mediterranean Seed Conservation Partnership (MAVA Project)
The Mediterranean is one of the world's most biodiverse regions with 25,000 different plant species. This flora is critically threatened from human development and requires urgent protection. The Mediterranean Seed Conservation Partnership is aiming to safeguard the region's plants.
Anchus crispa, a rare and threatened endemic of Sardinia and Corsica. The subpopulations are all very small: at least four in Corsica are in strong decline, and one site at Campitellu disappeared in 1999. (Photo: Giovanni Gestri)
The Mediterranean Basin is one of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots with 25,000 species of plants – of which over half are found nowhere else in the world. Four out of five European endemics are Mediterranean with many of these restricted to individual islands. Pressures from urbanisation, mass tourism and intensive agriculture in the region have pushed many native plants to the edge of extinction. Climate change threatens to accelerate this loss. Nowhere are these threats more prominent than on islands where constraints of space, resource scarcity and marine influences, including rising sea levels, are exacerbated by habitat destruction, pollution and alien invasives.
The 'Ensuring the survival of endangered plants in the Mediterranean' project will run from 1 October 2011 for three years with the participation of seven conservation organisations, six of them based on the main Mediterranean islands (Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, Corsica, Crete and Mallorca). They will work together to achieve ex situ conservation of 900 plant taxa through seed conservation. Seeds will be collected from the priority plant taxa on each of the islands represented.
Research will be carried out on these priority species and data will be disseminated to aid conservation and restoration activities. Alongside collecting, a Mediterranean Basin island seed conservation network will be built to foster cooperation, collaboration and to promote the exchange of experience and ideas.
Project partners and collaborators
The Agricultural Research Institute Nicosia
Conservatoire Botanique National de Corse, Corte, Corsica
Mediterranean Agronomic Institute, Chania, Crete
Centro Conservazione Biodiversità, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Cagliari, Sardinia
Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali, University of Catania, Catania, Sicily
Jardí Botànic de Sóller, Mallorca