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Abstract

Earth’s biodiversity includes all extant species; however, species are not evenly distributed across the planet. Species tend to be clustered in densely populated areas known as “biodiversity hotspots;” species which inhabit only a single area are also termed “endemic,” and tend to be highly vulnerable to population-reducing changes in their environment. Biodiversity hotspots are considered priorities for conservation if the area has a high rate of endemism as well as a notable and continual habitat loss (Noss et al., 2015). Preventing biodiversity loss is a complex and multi-level decision-making process about setting priorities and defining clear biodiversity protection areas. Biodiversity loss, or the loss of entire species or sub-populations in an area, can be driven by multiple processes, including land use changes, climate change, and the introduction of invasive species (Plexida et al. 2018).

The Mediterranean Basin is one such hotspot, transecting multiple countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, including European, Middle Eastern, and North African countries with different systems of government and cultural perceptions of environmental resources and biodiversity. Furthermore, the basin is one the most species-rich biodiversity hotspots on Earth in terms of endemic vascular plants and has high rates of endemism for amphibians and fish, as well as being an important migration corridor for many bird species (Cuttelod et al., 2008). The hotspot is at high risk for continued biodiversity loss due to 53 several human-driven factors including population increase and government-level environmental policies (Grainger, 2003).

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