Study finds 90 species of endangered plants in Israel

Almost 20 percent of Israel is protected with the highest level of biodiversity, with 60 percent of those areas concentrated in the Negev desert (pictured here), a new survey has found. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) Ecosystems in Israel and particularly in its coastal plain have 90 species of endangered plants, 28 of them being unique to Israel or the countries that surround it, a newly released study discovered.

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) conducted a survey and mapping project over the last two years in order to determine whether Israel meets international standards on biodiversity protection.

The international Convention on Biological Diversity treaty requires at least 17 percent of a country’s land mass to be protected with the highest level of biodiversity. The INPA survey found that almost 20 percent of Israel is protected at that level, with 60 percent of those areas concentrated in the southern Negev desert region.

In some areas with more residential development and farming, such as Israel’s coastal plains, the ecosystems are only minimally protected. Ninety species of endangered plants, such as irises, were found in areas that are inadequately protected. An area is considered legally protected when it is defined as a nature reserve, national park, or forest.

Posted on April 27, 2016 .