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Plant Ecology in the Middle East$
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Ahmad Hegazy and Jon Lovett-Doust

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660810

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660810.001.0001

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The lay of the land

The lay of the land

Plant geography in the Middle East

(p.27) Chapter 2 The lay of the land
Plant Ecology in the Middle East

Ahmad Hegazy

Jonathan Lovett-Doust

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on local and regional endemism and the plant ecology and biogeography of the many individual countries in the Middle East. The region includes some areas that are very thoroughly studied and others that are relatively unknown. There are mountain ranges, steppes, dry deserts, and salt basins, and magical islands like Socotra and the Hawar Islands that are rich in unusual endemics. Some special floras have been long recognized—like the Gondwanaland relicts on Socotra and adjacent mainland; those of the Dasht-e Kavir plateau of north central Iran known as the Great Salt Desert (c. 77 000 km2); the Red Sea and Aden Gulf basins (c. 810 000 km2) of sclerophyllous evergreen bush- and scrubland; the Israeli tragacanth; the Caucasus hotspot; and the ancient “Hyrcanian” forests of Iran and Azerbaijan, representing refugia for northern plants as they edged southward over millennia to escape the advances and retreats of Eurasian ice sheets.

Keywords:   Dasht-e Kavir plateau, Socotra, Red Sea, Aden Gulf, Israeli tragacanth, sclerophyllous evergreen scrubland, Hyrcanian forest, Caucasus hotspot, Hawar Islands

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