Ecological Regions In Western Sahara (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic)

The tidal water of the Atlantic Ocean meet the desert in the Laayoune are of the northwestern Western Sahara.
The tidal water of the Atlantic Ocean meet the desert in the Laayoune are of the northwestern Western Sahara.

Mediterranean Acacia-Argania Dry Woodlands and Succulent Thickets

The Mediterranean Acacia-Argania Dry Woodlands and Succulent Thickets ecological region is located in Morocco, Western Sahara, and the Spanish Canary Islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. This ecological region is sub-tropical, with mild winters and cool summers due to the influence that the ocean has on the climate. The region has to major vegetation dominant areas, the Argania spinosa forest that is by the coasts that eventually begins to merged into the Euphorbia-dominant succulent shrubland the farther inland into the region you go. There are many different endemic plant species that grow in this ecological region, as well as some unique endemic animal species including the ratel, Barbary striped grass mouse, the Barbary sheep, and many others. The area is threatened due to overgrazing by farmland animals, excessive harvesting of the trees that make up the ecological region and poor farming practices that threatened native plants and animals. There fortunately are regions of this ecological region that are protected as part of national parks.

Atlantic Coastal Desert

The Atlantic Coastal Desert makes up most of the westernmost portion of the greater Sahara Desert, and much of the coastline of Western Sahara. The climate in this region is exceedingly arid and hot, with irregular amount of rainfall that only occur in small amounts. Much of the coast of the Atlantic coastal desert region is make up of cliffs, while the inland region is a sandy, rocky plateau. Despite the lack of rain, mists from the Atlantic are common do to this ecological region's location along the coast, which allows for the growth of lichens. This ecological region is comparatively bountiful in endemic plants but has basically no endemic animals besides the Algerian Whip Snake. The area has lost little habitat since farming is impossible in the region but has suffered through degradation due to long drought and overgrazing by livestock.

North Saharan Steppe and Woodlands

The North Saharan Steppe and Woodlands are an ecological region that extends across much of North Africa. This region has an extreme climate as it can be found anywhere from the shoreline to areas inland of the coast. In these region the climate is very hot and dry during the summer months, but gets cooler in the winter with some rain, which is there is not a lot of in this ecological region. This ecological region has a lot of geological biodiversity to it having mountains, sandy areas with dunes, wide rocky plateaus known as regs, wide river beds called wadis, and plateaus of soil referred to as fesh fesh. This ecological region is unique compared to other ecological regions in the Sahara due to that fact that it contains many endemic species of plants and animals. Plants that are endemic to this region are spread across the different geological regions that make up the area. The North Saharan Steppe and Woodlands has a bunch of mostly small mammals that are endemic to its desert regions. Several types of gazelle's are also found in these region. This region also has a decently diverse number of reptiles, although there are fewer that are endemic to the region. Threats to the plants and animals in this ecological region are centered around the areas that have water or get more rainfall, as opposed to the drier areas. The areas with water face more pressure as the people and their livestock in the region flock to water and those areas are where overgrazing happens. Water pollution is also starting to become a problems since the cities in this ecological region are developed around the water sources in the desert. Some larger animals in this ecological region have already been wiped out, while others are not doing so well do to these animals being hunted for food and sport.

Dry Sahel

The Dry Sahel ecological region stretches across Northern Africa and is the transition zone between the Sahara Desert and the wooded savannas of Africa. This ecological region is most flat, although it does have some high mountain massifs scattered throughout it. The region has a hot, tropical climate with a rainy summer season from May to September while the rest of the year it is in its dry season where dry, hot winds blow into the area. This ecological region does not have a great deal of animal species, but it does have some endemic species, such as the four different gerbils from the Genus Gerbuillus and two from the Genus Taterillus, as well has having the zebra mouse, Lemniscomys hoogstraali, and the bat species Eptesicus floweri. There are more endemic plants in the region then animals but that is became this ecological region is so large. The area is mostly threatened due to agriculture, which is causing soil erosion, as well as the loss of trees became of deforestation.

Permanent Maghreb and Temporary Maghreb

The Permanent Maghreb and the Temporary Maghreb are different forms of ecological regions than those listed above. Both of these ecological regions are freshwater ecological regions. The Permanent Maghreb region covers part of various countries in northwestern Africa, including Western Sahara and has a Mediterranean Climate. The regions main feature is its flowing streams and rivers that flow on the surface all year. The Temporary Maghreb is found south of the Permanent Maghreb and in the northern part of the vast Sahara Desert. This region is also characterized by its flowing streams and river, but they only appear seasonally instead of permanently, hence the name Temporary Maghreb. Both of these regions have a wide variety of fish species in them, with many of them being endemic species only found in these regions.

Saharan Upwelling

The Saharan Upwelling is a marine ecological region that is in the Atlantic Ocean, and it is located between the coastlines of Morocco and Western Sahara and those of the Canary Islands. The region is home to a wide variety of coral reefs and sea-grass beds, as well as many animals that are endemic to the region and some that are endangered species. There animals range from lobster and shrimps to fish and mollusks to sea turtles, manatees and dugongs. This area is threatened by over fishing from humans, extracting of natural resources from the areas around it and general pollution of the ocean that is done by humans.

1Mediterranean Acacia-Argania Dry Woodlands and Succulent ThicketsTerrestrial
2Atlantic Coastal DesertTerrestrial
3North Saharan Steppe and WoodlandsTerrestrial
4Dry SahelFreshwater
5Permanent MaghrebFreshwater
6Temporary MaghrebFreshwater
7Saharan UpwellingMarine

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