Using an education and awareness programme to conserve endangered plants in South Sinai, Egypt

Karim Abdelhai Omar

A group of endemic plants (11 species) are found exclusively in the mountains of South Sinai in Egypt, which are not found in any other region except those mountains. Due to the very small population size and the limited distribution (to areas that do not exceed 10 km2 in some species), these plants have been listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered / Endangered and in need of urgent care. In addition to natural threats from drought, climate change, and others, these species are of great ecological, economic, and social importance. They are collected by the local community (women and children) for trade, fuel and medicinal uses as well as unmanaged grazing activities. Red List assessments have indicated that there is a continuing decline in the habitat quality and number of sites for these species, with evidence of declining sub-population numbers and numbers of mature individuals as a result of these activities, and there is an urgent need to conserve them through in situ and ex situ conservation techniques. The new generation of Bedouin, especially children, have low traditional knowledge compare to the older generation, particularly regarding how field practices can cause the deterioration of natural resources. On the other hand, many non-local residents of South Sinai live far from nature and Protected Areas and have no information about wild plants, their importance and threats to their survival. Links between the two communities are weak and over time this will lead to social barriers.

As children are tomorrow's leaders, this project will work to create a detailed education and awareness programme about the conservation of target species, which will be mainly directed at children (Bedouin and non-Bedouin children) in the target study area and surrounding areas. Bringing local and non-local children together and engaging them in the conservation of these target species will improve knowledge, remove conflicts, transfer field experiences, and foster local awareness.

This will build on three previous CLP projects supported in 2015, 2017 and 2022.