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Important Plant Areas (IPAs)

According to IUCN, there Twenty IPAs have been identified in Egypt to date, with six proposed that require further study to confirm their status as internationally significant sites for plants. Of these, ten are located within the Mediterranean region and five of those contain single country endemics or very restricted range species.

The Mediterranean IPAs of Egypt consist of five coastal lakes or lagoons, including the only oligotrophic hypersaline lake on the Egyptian Mediterranean coast and three lakes within the Nile Delta; as well as the limestone mountains of North Sinai, the coastal ridges and depressions of Omayed Biosphere Reserve, the Moghra Oasis, the oolitic sands of the Western Mediterranean coastal dunes and the plateau of Sallum on the border with Libya. Significant species on these sites include the relict patches of Juniperus phoenica populations in North Sinai, Egyptian endemics Astragalus camelorum, Bellevallia salah-eidii, Bromus aegyptiacus, Sinapis allionii, Sonchus macrocarpus (of the coastal lagoons) and Anthemis microsperma, Atractylis carduus var. marmarica, Pancratium arabicum and Zygophyllum album var. album (of the coastal dunes).

Floristically, the richest IPA in Egypt is the mountainous Saint Katherine IPA. It contains around 500 vascular plant species and approximately 50% of Egypt’s endemic plant flora. This huge protected site covers over 5,000 km2 of South Sinai and rises up to 2641 m; it is outside the Mediterranean region.

  • Number of IPAs: 20 (10 in the Mediterranean region).
  • Number of IPAs containing single country endemic species: 5 in the Mediterranean region; 3 elsewhere in Egypt.
  • Number of IPAs containing very restricted species (stenoendemics): 1 in the Mediterranean; 2 elsewhere in Egypt.
  • Number of IPAs containing: 20 single country or very restricted range species:1 (not Mediterranean).

Map of Important Plants Areas in Egypt (IUCN, 2011)


Number Region Number Region
1 North Sinai Mountain 11 Wadi El-Rayan
2 Lake Bardawil 12 Saint Katherine
3 Lake Manzala 13 Nabq
4 Lake Burullus
14 Hurghada
5 Lake Edku 15 Wadi El-Gemal
6 Lake Mariut 16 Dungul and Dineigil Oasis
7 Omayed Bioshpere Reserve 17 Lake Naser
8 Moghra Oasis 18 Wadi Allaqui
9 Western Mediterranean Coastal Dunes 19 Saluga and Ghazal
10 Sallum Area 20 Halayeb Triangle