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Important Plant Areas of Syria

Number of IPAs: 33

Desert with sheep in foreground


These IPAs are located throughout the country within each of the nationally recognised Mediterranean bioclimatic divisions: humid, sub-humid, semi arid, arid and Saharan. A large number of sites are mountainous, located within the parallel coastal and the eastern mountain ranges as well as in the isolated mountains of the interior.

They include the endemic plant centres of the Northern Levant such as Kurd Dag IPA; centres of endemism in Antioch and Amanus; sites capturing EuroSiberian plant species at their southern limit and the best examples of Cedrus libani and Abies cilicica forests (Slenfeh-Jaubet al Berghl), which are threatened across the whole Mediterranean.

Syria is located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Basin and forms an integral part of the Levant countries. Syrian territory includes 183km of Mediterranean Sea coast, plains, mountain ranges, plateaus and semideserts. Over 60% of the country is a plateau between 200-600m and mountains between 600 and 2000m form the remainder. The climate is Mediterranean with precipitation in the cool seasons of the year, summers are hot and dry.

Plant Diversity

The Syrian flora includes 3077 species belonging to 133 families and 919 genera, the majority of which are Mediterranean or Irano-Tauranian. The level of local endemism is exceptionally high in Syria. Restricted range endemic species can be found in nearly every IPA. Threatened wetlands are also represented in the Syrian IPA inventory.

Protections and Threats

7 of the IPAs in Syria are partially or totally protected, including one Ramsar site (internationally important wetland), and three have some form of management plan active on part or all of the site.

The most frequent threat to IPAs in Syria is the unsustainable collection of herbs and medicinal plants (affecting 91% of sites), closely followed by the threat from overgrazing. Deforestation (specifically gathering leaves and branches for fodder and wood for fuel) is another major cause for concern, which is exacerbated by burning on 14 IPAs. Tourism development and extraction of minerals are concerns on 50% of Syrian IPAs.

Further information

Syria country report on the Identification of Important Plant Areas (IPAs) in Syria.


Important Plant Areas of the south east Mediterranean region

Syria available on pages 59-64

IPA data

Data set