Ecoregion approach

Živjeti Neretvu
© WWF-Mediterranean / Edward PARKER

The Mediterranean – a sea surrounded by land

The Mediterranean Basin refers to the sea and lands around, and surrounded by, the Mediterranean Sea.
Close your eyes and think of sunshine, white sands, warm waters. Ponder the idea of relaxed living, good food and friendly people. Glimpse the striking colours of Cezanne's rich landscapes. Travel from cork oak forests, to snowy mountain peaks, to sandy turtle tracks on the shore.

The Mediterranean sea is the largest enclosed sea in the world with 46,000 km of coastline. We include 24 countries and territories from Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

WWF is working with partners, decision makers, communities and visitors to ensure the survival of this bountiful and beautiful area.

Facts and figures about the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean basin is one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots and in terms of plant diversity is second only to the Tropical Andes.

The Mediterranean basin hosts 25,000 plant species, over 50% of which are endemic totalling over 8% of the world’s flora.

80% of all European plant species are Mediterranean

33.5% of reptile species are endemic

34.2% of Amphibian species are endemic

29.2% of freshwater fish species are endemic

11.6% of mammal species are endemic

In spite of the very high human density large carnivores including bears, wolves, lynx are still present in parts of the region

Two of the most globally endangered mammals: the Monk seal and the Iberian lynx

15 whale, dolphin and porpoise species are regularly present in the region, including a large Fin whale breeding population

The Mediterranean is the only breeding ground of the Atlantic Blue fin tuna, the world most valuable fish species

It is one of the most important places in the world for marine turtles, especially loggerhead and green turtles.

Mediterranean ecoregions

	© WWF Mediterranean /A.Uras
Zuara, Tunisia.
© WWF Mediterranean /A.Uras
What is an ecoregion ?
An ecoregion is defined as a large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities that
  • share a large majority of their species and ecological dynamics
  • share similar environmental conditions, and
  • interact ecologically in ways that are critical for their long-term persistence.
WWF has assessed these ecoregions and identified the Global 200 - the most biologically distinct terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecoregions of the planet. One of these globally important regions and one of the most endangered is the Mediterranean.

Within these priority ecoregions, WWF pursues ecoregion conservation, a unique, broad-scale approach to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy that conserves the species, habitats, and ecological processes of the ecoregion.