Cyprus Cyprus Cyprus Cyprus

Biodiversity Cyprus

Biodiversity in Cyprus in numbers

The Cyprus flora includes in total 1910 taxa native or naturalized, out of which 143 are endemic. The fauna contains 30 species of mammals, 25 species of amphibians and reptiles, about 375 bird species, 250 species of fish and about 6000 species of insects (2).

Vulnerabilities - Marine biodiversity

The Mediterranean can be considered as one of the regions most severely affected by marine species invasions: 745 alien species have been recorded in the Mediterranean Sea (1).

The eastern Mediterranean is an essentially land-locked basin with nutrient-poor surface waters (“marine desert”). In the past two decades rapid increases of the sea surface temperature have been observed, dominated by changes in summer. Modeling studies suggest that this tendency will continue in future, and the warming of surface and deep waters will result in salinization and water mass stabilization. The marine biodiversity can be affected, e.g. through reduced nutrient delivery to surface waters, “tropicalization” and the invasion of alien species through the Suez Canal (4).

Observations indicate a strong eastward increasing sea surface warming trend in the Mediterranean basin, with the Levantine Basin where Cyprus belongs recording a warming rate of 0.04 - 0.06°C per year during the last 2 - 3 decades (5). Sea surface temperature near Cyprus is expected to further increase by 2°C until 2050 (6). 

Vulnerabilities - Fresh water biodiversity

The Mediterranean ecohydrology is vulnerable to climate change, and can affect flora and fauna of the region. In arid and semi-arid parts of the region, the biggest danger facing the lakes is the expected decrease in water input resulting from increasing evapotranspiration with increasing temperature and decreasing precipitation. This process can lead to conversion of existing freshwater to saltwater (2).

Adaptation strategies - Cyprus

The following adaptation measures have been recommended (1):

  • Special attention should be given to the protection of priority and threatened species and their habitats;
  • Ecological networks must be established and ecological coherence should be maintained or strengthened;
  • Alien species (terrestrial and marine) must be recorded and their distribution must be prevented or removed;
  • Sustainable use of ecosystem services and natural resources and conservation of ecosystem functions must be applied;
  • Ecosystem‐based adaptation, sustainable development and land use must be promoted and integrated with other policies and plans.

For watershed systems adaptation strategies should focus on increasing their resilience to climatic change. Given the heterogeniety in watershed types, strategies need to incorporate local needs and issues with active participation of all stakeholders. The conservation and sustainability of watersheds in the Mediterranean region is an important issue to sustain local and regional economies and ecosystems. A localized strategy that incorporates watershed characteristics and information is vital to sustain the region. A long-term strategy is needed to involve resilience enhancing measures that will enable watersheds to withstand and transform to climatic change (3).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Cyprus.

  1. Shoukri and Zachariadis (2012)
  2. Cyprus 4th National Report to CBD (2010), in: Shoukri and Zachariadis (2012)
  3. Erol and Randhir (2012)
  4. Lelieveld et al. (2012)
  5. Skliris et al. (2011); Samuel-Rhoads et al. (2012), both in: Lemesios et al. (2016)
  6. Dubois and Cauchy (2014), in: Lemesios et al. (2016)