Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Eritrea lies in the northeastern corner of the Horn of Africa. Examples of habitats and ecosystems found in Eritrea include: Juniperus forest, riverine forest, coral reefs and traditional farming systems. A total of 126 mammal species, including 9 marine mammals have been identified in Eritrea. A number of mammals, notably the elephant, wild ass, greater kudu and civet, are in danger of national extinction. A total of 557 birds, 90 reptiles, 19 amphibians and 700 plants have been recorded for Eritrea. The Eritrean marine and coastal zone is situated in the southern sector of the Red Sea, and harbors 500 fish species, 5 marine turtles, 8 or more cetaceans and the dugong. Eritrea is recognized as a centre of origin and centre of diversity for a number of crops, notably the cereals: sorghum, wheat and barley. A century ago Eritrea was endowed with many natural resources, which included fertile land, enough water resources, dense forests and various wild animals. Thirty years of armed struggle, combined with persistent drought and neglect, have impacted the resources of the country. The country’s rich natural resources have been denuded and are currently left with fragile ecosystems.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
Currently, Eritrea has no formally protected areas, which are legally gazetted, although a number of potential locations have been identified and partially surveyed. The absence of formal protected areas does not mean that land is not conserved. As of 1999, around 192,734 sq. ha of land had been placed under partial or complete closure (i.e. protection from human utilization for fuel wood/grazing).