An international symposium was held jointly by Algeria’s Abou Bekr Belkaid University and Tlemcen national park on 11, 12 and 13 October entitled MedBiodiv 2010: Management and Conservation of Continental Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Basin.
Sixty researchers, experts, managers and students from both sides of the Mediterranean (Algeria, Spain, France, Italy, Morocco and Tunisia) participated in the event by presenting their work and discussing plans to collaborate in the future.
In his introduction, symposium chairman Dr Noureddine Mostefaï reminded participants that “the Mediterranean region is one of the planet’s 34 biodiversity hotspots, it possesses some of the world’s rarest biogeographical zones and tremendous biodiversity.” He went on to say that “the position of the Mediterranean basin between Eurasia and Africa, its geographical characteristics and its role as a shelter for species during the ice ages have all contributed to its immense biological diversity and high degree endemism.”
However, biodiversity in the Mediterranean region is highly vulnerable to human activities. As the world’s leading tourist destination, its dense population and intense pace of development, the region is exposed to a wide range of anthropically-based disturbances.
The many contributions focussed on three main topics: “surveying and evaluating biodiversity”, “biodiversity and Mediterranean specificities”, and “managing biodiversity, conservation and restoration”, highlighting north-south cooperation in research. The Tour du Valat’s Observatory of Mediterranean Wetlands coordination team attended the symposium and gave two presentations: The Observatory of Mediterranean wetlands, a management tool for Mediterranean wetlands and A new generation of indicators for spotting biodiversity trends in wetlands. Seven other presentations were directly related to wetlands.
The exchanges that occurred during the symposium encouraged North and South to work more closely together and to share pan-Mediterranean scientific challenges. The organisers wrapped up proceedings with the announcement that another Medbiodiv would be held in 2 to 3 years time in another Mediterranean country.