Western Mediterranean

Fires may be the result of natural phenomena such as lightning or they may be man-induced. Usually natural fires are an integral part of plant community development and influence such things as soil nutrient availability and biological diversity. In contrast, uncontrolled or wildfires disrupt such processes and can have a catastrophic impacts. The vast majority of wildfires are intentionally set and often occur in conifer forests. In recent years extended droughts, together with the rapidly expanding exploitation of tropical forests and the demand for the conversion of forests to other land uses, have resulted in a dramatic increase in wildfires. While some conifers have evolved to be fire dependent by having serotinous cones that open and release their seed in response to fire, their populations are so small or fragmented that even natural fires may be catastrophic. This is particularly evident in areas with a Mediterranean climate. It is the introduction of inappropriate fire regimes (frequency, severity, or seasonal timing) that can have the most severe impact.

Taxa in the category - Western Mediterranean:

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Abies numidica de Lannoy ex Carrière

Endemic to a very small area of the Djebel Babor Mountains in northern Algeria where it is threatened by a combination of fire, fuel-wood collection and grazing by cattle and goats. Read full species entry >

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Abies pinsapo Boiss.

The Spanish fir has two subspecies distributed in southern Spain and northern Morocco where threats include fire, grazing and climate change. Read full species entry >

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Abies pinsapo var. marocana (Trabut) Ceballos & Bolanos

The Moroccan fir is restricted to two small forests in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco where over a period of 60 years it has suffered a 70% decline. Read full species entry >

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Abies pinsapo var. pinsapo

One of two varieties of the Spanish fir restricted to three areas of southern Spain where in the last 45 years large areas of  forest have been lost mainly as a result of fire. Read full species entry >

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Cedrus atlantica (Endl.) Manetti ex Carrière

Endemic to North Africa where it occurs in Morroco and Algeria. The main threats include logging, fire and extensive grazing by goats Read full species entry >

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Cupressus dupreziana A.Camus

Represented by the two varieties C. dupreziana var. dupreziana (Algeria) and C. dupreziana var. atlantica (Morocco). Long-lived (2000 years) but their future is threatened by fire, seed collecting and climate change. Read full species entry >

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Cupressus dupreziana var. atlantica (Gaussen) Silba

One of two varieties of cypress native to North Africa where it occurs in a very restricted area of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The severely fragmented population is Crtically Endangered Read full species entry >

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Cupressus dupreziana var. dupreziana

Native to the Sahara Desert in Algeria where it occupies a narrow strip of about 120km long on the edge of Tassili Plateau. It is Critically Endangered due to grazing and cutting for firewood Read full species entry >

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