Eastern Mediterranean Quercus cerris Montane Woodland

These summer green woodlands often occupy an intermediate zone between the lowland woodlands of Quercus calliprinus and the mountain woodlands of Cedrus libani and range in altitude from about 1000 to 1600 m. They can be found in various upland areas such as the Amanus Mountains (southern Turkey), Lebanon Mountains and Mount Hermon. Other characteristic arboreal species are Acer monspessulanum, Colutea arborescens, Cotinus coggygria, Eriolobus trilobatus, Fontanesia phillyreoides, Fraxinus ornus, Juniperus oxycedrus, Ostrya carpinifolia, Pinus nigra subsp. pallasiana, Pyracantha coccinea, Quercus chrysophylla and Quercus look, some of which form local dominants in their own right. Of the shrubs, ferns and herbs the following are fairly typical: Asplenium trichomanes, Blechnum spicant, Phyllitis sagittata, Pteris vittata, Adenocarpus complicatus, Agropyron panormitanum, Buxus longifolius, Cornus australis, Cytisus drepanolobus, Hypericum hircinum and Salvia grandiflora. The associated endemic or near endemic species include Ampelopsis orientalis (Vitaceae), Gonocytisus pterocladus (Fabaceae), Kundmannia syriaca (Apiaceae), Lecokia cretica (Apiaceae), Pyrus syriaca (Rosaceae), Rhamnus hirtellus (Rhamnaceae), Scutellaria diffusa (Lamiaceae) and Siphonostegia syriacus (Scrophulariaceae).

Eastern Mediterranean Pinus brutia Montane Forest

Forests dominated by Pinus brutia extend from Lebanon through southern and western Turkey, the Black Sea regions, Cyprus, Crete, and other Aegean islands, and range from sea level to about 1800 m. In fact, on Cyprus it is the only pine-species that descends to sea level. It has many traits in common with the more southerly Pinus halepensis, but is much more widespread. The rich undergrowth varies from place to place and includes a number of endemic or near endemic taxa like Acer obtusifolium (Aceraceae), Berberis cretica (Berberidaceae), Bromus syriacus (Poaceae), Centaurea cretica, Jurinea mollis subsp. anatolica and Lactuca cretica (Asteraceae), Cytisopsis pseudocytisus (Fabaceae), Origanum libanoticum, Origanum syriacum, Phlomis vicosa, Salvia triloba subsp. libanotica and Stachys distans (Lamiaceae).

Eastern Mediterranean Cupressus sempervirens Montane Forest

Forests of Cupressus sempervirens var. horizontalis have been recorded in Anatolia, Crete, Cyprus, Jordan and Lebanon, and according to the fossil record were probably also in the Judean Mountains and elsewhere. They are normally confined to rocky ground and invariable co-dominated by species such as Acer obtusifolium (e.g. Cyprus), Acer orientale (e.g. Crete), Juniperus phoenica (e.g. Jordan) and Quercus calliprinus (e.g. Lebanon). Their under story species also display large variations but may include various endemic or endemic species such as Astragalus creticus (Fabaceae), Gonocytisus pterocladus (Fabaceae), Silene libanotica (Caryophyllaceae) and Stachys cretica (Lamiaceae).

Eastern Mediterranean Cedrus libani Montane Forest

These forests are confined to the highest forest zones of the Eastern Mediterranean reaching the timberline at about 2,200 m. Some of the best examples are seen in the Lebanon Mountains, while less extensive and often relict stands can be found in Syria, the Amanus, Taurus, the Anti-Taurus Mountains (Anatolia), and the Troodos Mountains (Cyprus). In Cyprus the cedar belongs to a separate variety known as var. brevifolia. The outstanding cedar forest of Bsharri consists of many ancient and majestic specimens. Commonly associated arboreal species include Abies cilicica, Juniperus excelsia and Quercus libani.  Associated endemic or near endemic species are Acantholimon libanoticum (Plumbaginaceae), Campanula damascena (Campanulaceae), Geranium libani (Geraniaceae), Marrubium libanoticum, Phlomis chrysophylla (Lamiaceae), Rhamnus libanoticus (Rhamnaceae), Rossularia libanotica (Crassulaceae), Scabiosa intermedia (Dipsacaceae) and Scrophularia libanotica (Scrophulariaceae). 

Mixed Evergreen Montane Forest with Holly and Bay

Remnants of these evergreen forests can be found at elevation ranging from 1000-1500 m in the Madonie Mountains (Sicily). Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is often the dominant tree, while other common trees include Acer campestris, A. obtusatum, Crataegus laciniata, Daphne laureola, Malus sylvestris, Quercus petraea, Rhamnus catharticus, Ruscus aculeatus, Sorbus forminalis and Ulmus glabra. Other woody elements, which probably date back to Tertiary times, are Taxus buccata and the endemic Abies nebrodensis (Pinaceae). The largest of these forests in this area is Pomieri Woods, which extends for some 1000 ha. There are also isolated stands of Laurus nobilis (bay) in which the rare, local endemic Rhamnus lojaconoi (Rhamnaceae) occurs. These mixed evergreen forests are thought to be relicts of forests that are related to evergreen forest in Macaronesia, the Iberian Peninsula and the Caucasus (Colchis) and appear to have been much more widespread during the interglacial periods and in the late Pliocene.

Southern Mediterranean Quercus afares Montane Forest

Forests characterized by the endemic Quercus afares (Fagaceae) are largely confined to the acid massifs in Khemir and Mogod where wetter conditions prevail. Quercus faginea if often scattered in the canopy and may form the dominant species in places. Associated species include Ampelodesma mauritanicum, Cytisus villosa, Erica arborea, Genista tricuspidata, Paeonia atlantica and Ruscus aculeatus.

Southern Mediterranean Abies numidica Montane Forest

Forests dominated by the endemic Abies numidica (Pinaceae) form just a few hundred hectares confined to the twin summits of Babor and Tababor in Algeria. Associated trees may include Acer obtusatum, Ilex aquifolium, Quercus faginea, Populus tremula and Taxus buccata together with the endemic Quercus afares (Fagaceae) and near endemic Cedrus atlantica (Pinaceae).

Southwestern Mediterranean Quercus suber Montane Forest

Forest dominated by Quercus suber occur, for example, on the Rif growing to an altitude of about 1200 m. They can reach a height of 15 m and have a dense sub-canopy layer reaching 5 m or so composed largely of Arbutus unedo and Erica arborea. A shrub layer of small shrubs like Cistus salviifolius and the endemic Lavendula stoechas (Lamiaceae) is often present. Clearings include various heliophilous shrubs such as Cistus populifolius and the endemic Halimium lasiocalycinum (Cistaceae).

Southwestern Mediterranean Tetraclinis articulata Montane Forest

Apart from a small population in Malta and in the extreme southeastern corner of Spain, Tetraclinis articulata is confined to North Africa. Moroccan forests characterized by this species occur on the lower Mediterranean slopes of the Rif and then extend eastwards into Algeria. They also occur on the northern slopes and valleys of the Anti Atlas, Middle Atlas and High Atlas. Trees of Tetraclinis can reach heights of 15 m, but their narrow crowns form only a light canopy and so most associated species are heliophilous. The most common of these include Ebenus pinnata, Lavendula multifida, Teucrium polium, while less common are Ampelodesmus mauritanicum, Anthyllis cytisoides and the endemic Polygala balansae (Polygalaceae).

Southwestern Mediterranean Cupressus atlantica Montane Forest

Forest dominated by the endemic Cupressus atlantica (Cupressaceae) form scattered stands between 1000-2000 m in the High Atlas. Some of the best examples form ‘islands’ within the Juniperus phoenicea zone. Cupressus atlantica can reach heights of 40 m or more but most of the remaining trees are much smaller than this.

Southwestern Mediterranean Juniperus phoenicea Montane Forest

Juniperus phoenicea forest has two principal habitats: coastal sands and high plateaus. Inland plateau forests occur on the Great, Middle and Anti-Atlas, but rarely exceed an altitude of more then 2200 m. At higher altitudes Juniperus phoenicea becomes mixed with J. thurifera, while associated species include Adenocarpus bacquei, Artemisia herba-alba, Buxus balearica, Carthamnus fruticosus, Fraxinus xanthoxyloides, Genista myriantha, Globularia alypum, Lavendula multifida, Rhamnus oleoides and Stipa tenacissima.

Southwestern Mediterranean Pinus halepensis Montane Forest

The only extensive stand of this forest in the southwest Mediterranean occurs above 1200 m in the High Atlas.  Pinus halepensis usually forms and emergent tree reaching heights of 20 m, while lower canopy species usually include Quercus ilex and Tetraclinis articulata.

Southwestern Mediterranean Pinus pinaster Montane Forest

These forests occur between 1500-2200 m on northern slopes of the Middle Atlas and High Atlas and between 1000-1900 m in the western Rif.

Southwestern Mediterranean Cedrus atlantica Forest

Forests dominated by the endemic Cedrus atlantica (Pinaceae) are confined to the mountains of Algeria and Morocco. This species of Cedrus can attain heights of 60 m and live for 750 years or more. In Algeria extensive stands occur in the Aurès, while in Morocco most is confined to the Middle and High Atlas. Its upper altitudinal limit is about 2800 m but its lower limit is less well defined due to human interference.  Associated flora includes an interesting mix of Mediterranean and Eurosiberia elements. The latter include Carex verticillatum, Digitalis purpurea, Parnassia palustris, Pinquicula vulgaris, Primula vulgaris, Sanicula europaea, Viola palustris and the fern Osmunda regalis.


Ajbilou, R., Marañón, T. & Arroyo, J. 2006. Ecological and biogeographical analysis of Mediterranean forests of northern Morocco. Acta Oecologica, 29: 104-113.

Ayyad, M. A. 1976. Vegetation and environment of the Western Mediterranean coastal land of Egypt. Journal of Ecology, 64: 713-722.

Beals, E. W. 1965. The remnant cedar forests of Lebanon. Journal of Ecology, 53: 679-694.

Boussaïd, M., Ben Fadhel, N., Chemli, R. & Ben M’hamed, M. (undated). Structure of the vegetation in northern and central Tunisia and protective measures. CIHEAM – Options Mediterraneennes.

Deniz, I. G. & Sumbul, H.  2004. Flora of the Elmali Cedar Research Forest (Antalya / Turkey). Turkish Journal of Botany, 28: 529-555.

Duran, A. 2002. Flora of Tuzalkli, Otluk, Gidefi Mountains and surroundings (Akseki). Turkish Journal of Botany, 26: 303-349.

Duzenli, A. & Cakan, H. 2001. Flora of Mount Musa (Hatay-Turkey). Turkish Journal of Botany, 25: 285-309.

Filipello, S. Gardini-Peccenini, S. 1985. The Italian Peninsula and alpine regions. In: Plant Conservation in the Mediterranean. Ed. C. Gómez-Campo. Dr W. Junk Publishers.

Greuter, W. 1979. The origins and evolution of island floras as exemplified by the Aegean Archipelago. In: Plants and Islands. Ed. D. Bramwell. Academic Press.

Marañón, T., Ajbilou, R., Ojeda, F. & Arroyo, J. 1999. Biodiversity of woody species in oak woodlands of southern Spain and northern Morocco. Forest Ecology and Management, 115: 147-156.

Martino, A. D. & Raimondo, F. M. 1979. Biological and chorological survey of the Sicilian flora. Webbia, 34: 309-335.

Mathez, J., Quézel, P. & Raynaud, C. 1985. The Maghreb countries. In: Plant Conservation in the Mediterranean. Ed. C. Gómez-Campo. Dr W. Junk Publishers.

Meikle, R. D. 1977. Flora of Cypress. The Bentham-Moxon Trust Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.

Meikle, R. D. 1985. Flora of Cypress. William Rudolf Sabbott.

Ocak, A. & Tokur, S. 2000. The flora of Gulumbe Dagi (Bilecik-Turkey).Turkish Journal of Botany, 24: 121-141.

Ojeda, F., Marañón, T. & Arroyo, J. 1996. Patterns of ecological chorological and taxonomic diversity at both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar. Journal of Vegetation Science, 7: 63-72.

Ojeda, F., Marañón, T. & Arroyo, J. 2000. Plant diversity patterns in the Aljibe Mountains (S. Spain): a comprehensive account. Biodiversity and Conservation, 9: 1323-1343.

Pérez, M. C. 2007. Diversity in the cork oak forests of the northern Straits of Gibraltar Region (Southern Spain). Plant Ecology, 189: 87-100.

Poli Marchese, E. 1999. Vegetation and changing environment on Mt. Etna. In: Recent shifts in vegetation boundaries of deciduous forest, especially due to general global warming, pp. 217-236.  Eds. F. Klötzli & G. R. Walther. Birkhäuser Verlag Basel.

Quezel, P. 1978. Analysis of the flora of the Mediterranean and Saharan Africa. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 65: 479-534.

Raimondo, F. M. 1984. On the natural history of the Madonie mountains. Webbia, 38: 29-52.

Runemark, H. 1971. Distribution patterns in the Aegean. In: Plant Life of South-West Asia. Eds. P. H. Davies, P. C. Harper and I. C. Hedge. The Botanical Society of Edinburgh.

Snogerup, S. 1985. The Mediterranean islands. In: Plant Conservation in the Mediterranean. Ed. C. Gómez-Campo. Dr W. Junk Publishers.
Strid, A. 1972. Some evolutionary and phytogeographical problems in the Aegean. In: Taxonomy, Phytogeography and Evolution. Ed. D. H. Valentine. Academic Press.

Strid, A. 1985. The Greek mountains. In: Plant Conservation in the Mediterranean. Ed. C. Gómez-Campo. Dr W. Junk Publishers.

Tsintides, T Ch. 1998. The Endemic Plants of Cyprus. Bank of Cyprus Group.

Turkmen, N. & Duzenli, A. 1998. The flora of Dortyol and Erzin districts of Hatay Province in Turkey. Turkish Journal of Botany, 22: 121-141.

Valdés, B., Rejdali, M., Achhal, A., Kadmiri, El., Jury, J. L. & Montserrat, J. M. (eds). 2002. Checklist of the vascular plants of N. Morocco with identification keys. Institute Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, Rabat and Institut Botànic De Barcelona.

Varol, O. 2003. Flora of Baskonus Mountain (Kahramanmaras).Turkish Journal of Botany, 27: 117-139.

Varol, O. & Tatli, A. 2001. The vegetation of Cimen Mountain (Kahramanmaras). Turkish Journal of Botany, 25: 335-358.

White, F. 1983. The Vegetation of Africa. UNESCO.

Zohary, M. 1947. A vegetation map of Western Palestine. Journal of Ecology, 34: 1-19.

Zohary, M. 1962. Plant Life of Palestine. The Ronald Press Company, New York.

Zohary, M. 1973. Geobotanical Foundations of the Middle East. Volumes 1 & 2. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart & Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam.

Zohary, M., Heyn, C. C. & Heller, D. 1980. Conspectus Florae Orientalis. The Israel Academy of Science and Humanities. Jerusalem.