Red List of Aquatic Plants

Red Listing Aquatic Plants from the Arabian Peninsula

Freshwater habitats and biodiversity in the Arabian Peninsula are unique and highly valued for the essential role they play in people’s survival, as well as that of its native flora and fauna. The limited number and area of wetland systems within the region, and the restricted size of many of them, constrains the distribution of species and the abundance of species in many basins. The greatest numbers of freshwater species and threatened species are found in the mountains of Yemen, the Socotra Archipelago, southwest Saudi Arabia and Dhofar in southern Oman. These areas, identified as centres of freshwater biodiversity and threat, can help focus development and conservation actions in ways that aim to minimise impacts to freshwater species throughout the region. The project evaluates the conservation status of 292 species belonging to five taxonomic groups – 18 fish taxa, 30 molluscs taxa, 59 dragonflies and damselflies taxa (odonates)and 3 freshwater crabs. In total, 182 wetland dependent plants are also assessed. Overall, 17% of the Arabian freshwater taxa assessed are threatened with extinction at the regional scale, with a further 3% assessed as Near Threatened and 20% as Data Deficient. The success of conservation planning in order to guarantee the future sustainability of livelihoods, as well as the resources and services provided by functioning wetland ecosystems depends critically on the adequate involvement of communities in the long-term future of freshwater species and habitats across the region. By compiling this existing information and updating it where possible this report provides an important resource for current and future decision making on the management and conservation of inland waters.  

Earthwatch Oman

  Earthwatch is working with Oman’s National Field Research Centre for Environmental Conservation (part of the Diwan of the Royal Court) to develop a number of field research projects in Oman. These are based in Jabal Samhan in the Dhofar mountain range, Wadi As Sareen in the Eastern Hajar mountains and Jabal al Akhdar in the Western Hajar mountains. We are working with Earthwatch to deliver field training courses and plant identifcation to support this programme. We’ve trained over 60 Omani participants in botanical fieldwork awarding them with RBGE’s Certificate in Practical Field Botany. Courses included training in digital photographic techniques towards the production of field guides for plant identification.


Developing biodiversity conservation in urban Istanbul

Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanik Bahcesi (NGBB) is a small botanic garden situated in a motorway intersection in a residential area of Istanbul. Since 2004 RBGE have contributed to the development of NGBB, through strategic planning, capacity building and training in horticulture, collections management and botanical art.

Surrounded by high rise apartment blocks, NGBB provides a vital green space for local residents and visitors. Although small, it delivers all the principal elements of a botanic garden. One of the most popular gardens in Istanbul, it has a beautiful collection of mainly Turkish plants, including wild collected geophytes. NGBB’s educational programs for local school children are aimed at producing the next generation of environmentalists.

Initial funding for RBGE’s collaborative involvement with NGBB came via a UK Darwin Initiative project to develop the capacity of this fledgling garden. Staff exchanges and collaboration has continued beyond the life of the original project. Recent collaborations include horticultural training as well as botanical artwork. Botanical artists from NGBB are currently providing the artwork for a major new RBGE publication on Chilean plants.

Socotra Archipelago

Protecting the land of the Dragon’s blood tree

The Socotra Archipelago UNESCO World Heritage Site is an area of outstanding biological diversity, natural beauty and cultural heritage. Since 1989 CMEP have been at the forefront of ecological research and planning on this unique archipelago.


CMEP has produced definitive publications on the Socotran environment, including The Ethnoflora of the Soqotra Archipelago.

Conservation Planning

CMEP holds an extensive database of plant habitats and species distributions across the Archipelago. This has contributed directly to several major conservation planning documents, including the Conservation Zoning Plan (1999) and the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation of 2008.

Surveying and Monitoring

CMEP have conducted numerous Environmental Impact Assessments on Socotra, particularly in relation to development and road building.

A network of over 70 monitoring sites has been established across the Archipelago. These are being monitored in relation to development, grazing and climate change. CMEP has also established monitoring programmes for endangered species e.g. Duvaliandra dioscoridis.

Building Capacity

We have an on-going programme of building capacity with local conservation workers. CMEP training covers plant identification, data collection and survey techniques. A continuing programme of training is also taking place at the Socotra Botanic Garden.


CMEP provide assistance to a local soil restoration project initiated by the Geographical Institute at the University of Tübingen.

PEACE Project

Improving livestock production in Afghanistan

CMEP provided specialist plant identification services for the PEACE Project in Afghanistan.

Since July 2006, Texas A&M University (TAMU) in collaboration with the University of California-Davis, USAID and the Government of Afghanistan (GoA), has been implementing a program to reduce the social and economic risks associated with extensive livestock production in Afghanistan.

The focus of this program, termed the PEACE (Pastoral Engagement, Adaptation, and Capacity Enhancement) Project is to provide nomadic herders and the GoA with information on emerging forage conditions and market prices, for planning, mitigation and response purposes. The PEACE Project is also building the capacity of GoA staff so they can conduct research themselves; and Afghanistan’s herders, the Kuchi, so they can peacefully mediate conflicts among themselves and with local villagers of other identities.

Afghanistan has approximately 3500-5000 plant species. A series of conflicts over the last 40 years have left Afghanistan without the skills and resources for conducting research or reliably identifying plant species.

CMEP staff used their floristic knowledge of SW Asia, along with RBGE institutional expertise and resources, to provide accurate plant identifications.