Halophyte Plant Diversity, Coastal Habitat Types and Their Conservation Status in Cyprus

ÖZTÜRK M. , Gucel S., GÜVENSEN A. , Kadis C., Kounnamas C.

SABKHA ECOSYSTEMS: AFRICA AND SOUTHERN EUROPE, VOL III, cilt.46, ss.99-111, 2011 (Diğer Kurumların Hakemli Dergileri) identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 46
  • Basım Tarihi: 2011
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1007/978-90-481-9673-9_12
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.99-111


This chapter focuses on the identification, description and determination of the conservation status of the halophytic plant diversity and the coastal habitat types of Cyprus. The chapter presents the results of a study that was undertaken during 2006-2008 in the coastal zone of Cyprus, which revealed that a total of 457 plant taxa with distinct features are distributed along a 770 km long coastline; 129 being typical halophytes. The taxa dominating the major intact habitats along the coast are Limonium spp., Mesembryanthemum spp., Euphorbia paralias, Pancratium maritimum, Eryngium maritimum, Medicago marina, Taraxacum aphrogenes, Otanthus maritimus and Cakile maritima. The saline habitats along the coast and alongside the internationally important salt lakes of Larnaca and Akrotiri (both included in the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance) abound in halophytic taxa like Salicornia spp., Arthrocnemum microstachyum, Suaeda vera, Juncus spp., Halimione portulacoides and Inula crithmoides. These salt lakes serve as migration stations for a large number of migratory birds during their route from Europe to Africa and back. Their conservation value is related not only to their function as important bird habitats but also to their significant floristic diversity. The coastal waters of the island give shelter to 197 fish species and various species of crabs, sponges and echinoderms. The Green and the Loggerhead turtles breed regularly on the island's sandy beaches, some of which are strictly protected. The coastal zone has been seriously degraded over the last 25 years. The habitats in this zone face serious degradation problems due to economic, recreational and intensive tourist development. An attempt has been made here to present the information on the life forms and other features of the major plant taxa occuring within the coastal zone. The conservation status of the plant taxa has been identified according to the Red Data Book of the Flora of Cyprus and the criteria set by the IUCN: 6 taxa critically endangered, 12 endangered and 14 vulnerable. Moreover, in the coastal zone of Cyprus 16 habitats types that are included in the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) Annex I have been identified out of which 3 are classified as priority ones and need immediate conservation measures. Information on coastal endemics has also been included so that it can be utilised for future effective conservation action.