Plant diversity of Mediterranean-type ecosystems with an emphasis on cultivated species
Botros, Mina Habib
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The Mediterranean Basin is an important biodiversity hotspot. Unfortunately, only 5% of its original vegetation remains intact because people have managed and transformed the landscape for the past 2000 years. In the last century, humans overused the semi-natural habitats which had a negative impact on the area more than earlier times. This is in addition to the mechanization of agriculture which had a negative impact on the area as well (Puddu, Falcucci, and Maiorano 2011). Mediterranean-type ecosystems (MTEs) are as plant diverse as tropical ecosystems. This biodiversity is larger than expected considering the relatively high latitude and the low productivity of the region. This makes these areas a good case study to examine the processes affecting plant diversity. Five MTEs are described as biodiversity hotspots due to the high numbers of endemic plant species. Scientists are working to decrease the biodiversity loss in the Mediderranean area. Here we will discuss biodiversity, cultivated species, and threats to Mediterranean-type ecosystems. Moreover, we will present the adaptation of these species to biotic and abiotic stresses, in addition to scientists' efforts to develop cultivars well-adapted to these stresses.