>Vertebrates in Israel
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Vertebrates in Israel

The Red Book


Despite its small size, only 22,000 km, Israel displays an impressive ecological diversity. This stems from its unique bio-geographic location; a bridge between the desert belt (Sahara-Arabia) and the Mediterranean region, with corridors to the dry topics via the rift valley and to the heights of central Asia through the northern mountain chain. The region has experienced a series of drastic climate changes in the last 20,000 years that have introduced, and eliminated, species from all these regions. Israel is also one of the major bird migration route between Europe and Africa.

Topography varies sharply, from the mountain tops in the north (~ 2000 m) to the Dead Sea (~ -400 m). The precipitation gradient ranges from 900 mm in the upper northern region to about 10 mm at Eilat in the far south. Within this limited area, rock-soil diversity is also high, contributing to the richness of habitats and niches.

However, nature conservation in modern Israel is not an easy task. High population density along with a high habitat fragmentation rate, intensive agriculture, allocation of most natural water sources for human use and designation of extensive sections of open space for army training, pose serious threats to the local fauna and flora.

This Red Book of the endangered vertebrates of Israel is an important tool in the endless task of preserving the unique faunal diversity of the country. The authors are experts on the systematic group they cover and rely on field data gathered in the last 50 years. The book was prepared according to IUCN instructions. We hope that it will help to improve conservation of the biological assets of Israel.

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