Coastal Lakes as Hot Spots for Plant Diversity in Egypt

  • Kamal Shaltout
  • Magdy El-BanaEmail author
  • Tarek Galal
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 72)


Five lakes (Mariut, Edku, Burullus, Manzala, and Bardawil) of global importance for migratory birds extend along the Egyptian Mediterranean coast. Burullus and parts of Lakes Manzala (i.e., Ashtum El-Gamil) and Bardawil (i.e., Zaranik) are managed protected areas. In addition, Burullus and Bardawil are Ramsar sites for the conservation of migratory birds. These lakes are evaluated for their plant diversity and ecosystem services. About 402 plant species, categorized into 45 plant communities, were identified in these lakes. Five of these species are endemics, while three are near endemics. Although the areas of these lakes (2,449 km2) contribute <0.003 of the total area of Egypt (one million km2), they are inhabited by 19% of the whole Egyptian flora; thus they are important hot spots for the Egyptian flora, particularly the aquatic plants. In addition, 70% of the total plant species offer, at least, one potential or actual good (e.g., grazing, medicinal drugs, human food, fuel, and timber), while 60% have at least one aspect of the environmental services (e.g., sand controllers, shaders, weed controllers, bank retainers, nitrogen fixers, and water purifiers). Most of these lakes receive excessive amounts of agricultural and industrial drainage water that is loaded with different pollutants, while Bardawil is still characterized by near-pristine conditions. The vegetation and sediment of these lakes are effective as carbon sinks; therefore, they play, in contribution with the other worldwide wetlands, a vital role in mitigation of global warming.


Bardawil Burullus Conservation Mediterranean lakes Plant diversity 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Botany Department, Faculty of ScienceTanta UniversityTantaEgypt
  2. 2.Botany Department, Faculty of SciencePort Said UniversityPort SaidEgypt
  3. 3.Botany and Microbiology Department, Faculty of ScienceHelwan UniversityCairoEgypt

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