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      Biosphere Reserve Information



© Photo: Thomas Schaaf
  General Description   Omayed Biosphere Reserve is situated close to Alexandria and belongs to the biome of warm deserts and semi-deserts of the Western Mediterranean region. Low calcareous rocky ridges (ancient dunes) altering with depressions characterize the relief. Three major physiographic systems can be distinguished: coastal systems, ridges and depressions, and inland plateau systems.
The Omayed Biosphere Reserve was extended to an area of 70,000 hectares in 1998. The Egyptian authorities wanted to change the objectives of the site from being just an ‘experimental research area’ to encompass all the main objectives of a biosphere reserve and in particular to represent the landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation of the region.
There are many different tribes in the area, which supports some 5,500 people (1997). Being a biosphere reserve, the area is expected to serve as a site for sustainable development of natural resources by rationalizing ecotourism, rangeland management, propagating multipurpose woody species, and promoting local industries. It also has an important function in long-term ecological monitoring.
  Major ecosystem type   Warm deserts and semi-deserts
  Major habitats & land cover types   Coastal calcareous dunes consisting of Ammophila arenaria, Euphorbia paralias, Pancratium maritimum etc.; inland ridges with skeletal shallow soils characterized by either Thymellaea spp. and Gymnocarpus decandrum communities or by associations of Plantago albicans and Asphodelus microcarpa; saline marshy depressions dominated by Salicornia fruticosa, Cressa cretica, Atriplex halimus etc.; non-saline depressions and inland plateau including species such as Artemisia monosperma and Hammada elegans associations (calcareous soils), Anabasis articulata and Hammada scorpia (shallow degraded soils) and Suaeda pruinosa and Salsola tetrandra communities (saline soils); pasture land, fig plantations; agroecosystems
  Location   29°00' - 29°18'N; 30°38' - 30°52'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   75,800
  Core area(s)   800
  Buffer zone(s)   5,000
  Transition area(s) when given   70,000
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +110
  Year designated   1981, extension 1998
  Administrative authorities   Egyptian Environment Affairs Agency (EEAA) Omayed Experimental Research Area
  Brief description   Ecological assessment of natural resources using aerial photographs to establish different types of maps
Forage composition, consumption rate and nutrition value of diet
Rehabilitation and restoration of degraded ecosystems, by the
propagation of endangered plant species, and introduction of specially valuable or multi-purpose species
Environmental site characterization by soil fauna to identify relations between species of soil fauna and environmental parameters in managed and natural ecosystems
Crop production levels and land-use planning for desert agro-ecosystems
R-D / R-A planning
Models for crop production "potential, water limited, nutrient limited"
Species richness and diversity of the vegetation
Temporal environmental changes by remote sensing
Land-use/land-cover by thematic mapping
Sustainability map, and major land use types using GIS
Intensive studies on hydrology, climatology, geomorphology and soils
Monitoring the impacts of climatic change on ecosystem structure and function including productivity of rangeland and of orchards
Mapping of the different biosphere reserve zones
Study of human impacts on the environment
Role of women in Bedouin communities
Biodiversity database
Analysing the process of habitat fragmentation in the biosphere reserve, assessed by using high-resolution satellite imagery
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate, geomorphology, habitat, hydrology, nutrients, soil.
  Biodiversity   Arid/Semi-arid, biodiversity, degraded areas, ecology, ecosystem assessment, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, fauna, natural resources, productivity, rare/endangered/threatened species, reintroduction, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, vegetation studies/plant cover.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, economically important species, livestock and related impacts/overgrazing, modelling, role of women/gender.
  Integrated monitoring   Environmental change, geographic information system/gis, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, integrated studies/interdisciplinaty, land use/land cover, management issues, mapping, monitoring/methodologies, planning and zoning measures/zonation, remote sensing, sustainable development/sustainable use.
  Contact address   Boshra B. Salem
University of Alexandria
Moharram Bey
21011 Alexandria
  Telephone   (2010) 144 9645
  Fax   (203) 391 1794
  Web site

Last updated: 15/10/2001

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