African Mediterranean Woodland

The Mediterranean woodland ecosystems occur along the northern coast of Africa abutting the Mediterranean Sea and extending out to the Canary Islands. The region is a complex of dry woodlands, succulent thickets, garrigue and maquis. Garrigue is a low, soft-leaved scrubland that is often punctuated with oak and juniper trees. Maquis is similar in composition to garrigue, but with much denser vegetation. Common plant species in this complex include argan (Argania spinosa), swizzle stick plant (Senecio anthephobium), Moroccan gum (Acacia gummifera), evergreen coniferous cypress (Tetraclinis articulate), Holm oak (Quercus ilex), and common olive (Olea europaea). Argan tree woodlands are a vital resource for approximately 2 million people in the region providing food, pasture, charcoal and lumber; however, high human populations and deforestation are widespread problems for maintenance of the ecosystems. Species in this region are generally fire adapted and dependent, thus when fire frequencies are altered (either overburning or fire suppression) native plant communities develop a high risk of invasive species invasion.