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The Moroccan flora biodiversity, conservation & climate change effects

Rankou, H. (2017) The Moroccan flora biodiversity, conservation & climate change effects. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

The integrated approach of combining floristic studies, IUCN conservation assessments, threat evaluation and Ecological Niche Modelling embraced in this research shows the importance and the value of the threatened Moroccan flora within the Mediterranean basin hotspot. Morocco is characterized by a high vascular plant diversity with approximately 3193 species and subspecies of which 22% are endemic. The new checklist of the endemic Moroccan flora following the new classification of APG III is elaborated in this research. It contains 879 species and subspecies in 55 families and 287 genera with comments on their geographical distribution and ecoregions. The conservation assessments and red listing of the Moroccan flora, according to IUCN criteria and categories, reveals a high extinction risk and thus the flora is of conservation concern, which is poorly recognized at present, both nationally and internationally. This research presents the initial part of the Moroccan Red Book as an important first step towards the recognition of the dangers to Moroccan biodiversity hotspots, the conservation of threatened species and the raising of public awareness at both national and international levels. The Ecological Niche Modelling approach identifies the current and future areas of high biodiversity richness, confirms that climate change is affecting the Moroccan flora and recognises the areas where species are most at risk, and refugia where the threatened species could be transferred and conserved. Current natural plant distribution ranges and their associated habitats will either reduce, or disappear in some cases, or shift to new refugia. This latter highlights the places to be prioritised in terms of optimising biodiversity conservation efforts: the Atlas Mountains (High Atlas, Anti Atlas and Middle Atlas), Rif Mountains and coastal areas (North Atlantic and the Middle Atlantic of Morocco). The approach adopted here of combining floristic studies, IUCN Red listing, Ecological Niche Modelling and threat evaluations provides powerful tools for conservation assessments, highlights species richness in specific floristic hotspots and estimates the predicted actual or potential species geographic range. This research has combined these new techniques to set the conservation priorities for the Moroccan flora and to inform stakeholders and policy makers. This is key to identifying and ameliorating the effects of the threats endangering the Moroccan plant diversity mainly habitat loss and degradation, direct and indirect human disturbance, changes in vegetation dynamics and climate change. A set of conservation action priorities are elaborated and include; species and habitat protection, ecological monitoring and research, communication and education.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Culham, A. and Jury, S.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Biological Sciences
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:74986
Date on Title Page:2016

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