Nearly 25,000 species of flowering plants and ferns are native to the countries surrounding the Mediterranean basin, and 60% of these plants are found nowhere else in the world. This extreme richness means that the Mediterranean is considered one of the world’s 25 biodiversity “hotspots”.

This work presents a selection of 50 threatened plant species growing on 12 Mediterranean islands, most of which (46) are classified as Critically Endangered (CR).

The main threats faced by the species evaluated are mostly due to direct or indirect human activities. These fall under the following categories (in decreasing order of importance): urbanization, tourism and recreation, fire, changes in agricultural practices, invasive alien species, and harvesting pressure. It is also clear that climate change will increase these threats, as flora, especially island flora, has a limited scope to migrate on small islands.

Recommendations for conservation action
Nearly three quarters of the 50 species selected benefit from some sort of legal protection, whether it be at national or international level. About half have some protection, or their population is included in a protected area. However, these conservation measures, while very valuable, are not sufficiently enforced to efficiently reduce the risk of extinction.

This work was carried out by the IUCN Mediterranean Island Plants Specialist Group. More information can be found in the publication: "The Top 50 Mediterranean Island Plants", available to download from the link on this page.