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An Overview of Plant Diversity and Land Degradation Interactions in the Eastern Mediterranean

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Geographically, the Mediterranean countries around the nearly enclosed Mediterranean Sea include the land masses of Europe on the northern, Africa on the South, and Asia to the East and northeast (Quezel, 1985; Ozturk, 1995). It extends over an area of nearly 2.3 × 106 km2, which is equivalent to half the total area of the Mediterranean climate zone in the world. Various definitions of the limits of the Mediterranean climatic region, based on bioclimate, biogeography or floristics have been proposed, but there is no complete diagnostic set of criteria that can be used, although a delimitation based on bioclimatic criteria is most widely employed today. The crucial difference between the Mediterranean and adjacent arid climate zones is the mean annual rainfall. But summer is always the driest season (Akman, 1982, 1999). The range of the olive plant is also used to define the extent of the Mediterranean climate, like that of the holm oak. According to Dallman (1998), where any two species of olive, Aleppo pine, holm oak, and kermes oak are seen growing together, this clearly shows that it is a Mediterranean climate.

The Mediterranean area shows unique ecological and topographical diversity, with a striking alternation of complex stream eroded mountains, hills, alluvial plains, a very long coastline, and hundreds of islands. In some areas the high fold mountains are rising close to the shore. The bare and steep slopes, broad flood plains and torrential forms are the main kinds of land forms. The soils in the basin are a mixture of old and newer soils, but distinctive terra rossa soil is widely distributed on the lowlands (Atalay, 1994; Ozturk et al., 2002). The dry summers and the limited seasonal rainfall allow the development of a mosaic pattern of soils. Many different species are adapted to grow on these different soil types (Atalay, 1994; Ozturk, 1995; Efe, 1998).

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2008

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