The Mediterranean – a sea surrounded by land
All of this, and much more, is the Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean sea is the largest enclosed sea in the world with 46,000 km of coastline. We include 24 countries and territories from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This treasure trove contains some of the most fertile, beautiful, and therefore most coveted land on the planet. It is not only known for this natural beauty, but being blessed with a mild and temperate climate, it is also one of the world’s most populated and developed areas. However, it is also one of the least protected regions in the world.
Its natural bounty is not infinite.
Archaeological data show that lush forests once grew abundantly across the Mediterranean basin. Now just 17 per cent of the original forest cover is left. Fires, excessive agriculture and timber use have all taken their toll. Every day, we are losing habitat, degrading rivers and streams, exploiting marine life, polluting the seas and losing unique species that are only found in Mediterranean countries. The Mediterranean has also been identified by the IPCC as a climate impact hotspot.
Most of us are still unaware of the growing threats.
Every year over 220 million holiday makers flock here and those numbers are growing annually. This is fuelling uncontrolled construction projects and the region is groaning under the strain of tourism. To save the Mediterranean and let its unique voice sound clear once more, WWF is working with partners, decision makers, communities and visitors to ensure the survival of this bountiful and beautiful area.
WWF in the Mediterranean
These offices have joined, together with the European Policy Office (EPO) and WWF International, to scale-up the conservation effort in the region with the WWF Mediterranean Initiative.