ZooKeys 31: 3-15, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.31.371
The Middle Eastern Biodiversity Network: Generating and sharing knowledge for ecosystem management and conservation
Friedhelm Krupp, Maroof Khalaf, Masoumeh Malek, Bruno Streit, Masaa Al-Jumaily
Abstract Despite prevailing arid conditions, the diversity of terrestrial and freshwater biota in the Middle East is amazingly high and marine biodiversity is the second highest on Earth. Throughout the region, threats to the environment are moderate to severe. Despite the outstanding economic and ecological importance of biological diversity, the capacity in biodiversity-related research and education is inadequate in most parts of the Middle East. The ";;Middle Eastern Biodiversity Network";; (MEBN), founded in 2006 by six universities and research institutes in Iran, Jordan, Germany, Lebanon and Yemen was designed to fill this gap. An integrated approach is taken to upgrade biodiversity research and education to improve regional ecosystem conservation and management capacities. A wide range of activities are carried out in the framework of the Network, including capacity building in biological collection management and professional natural history curatorship, developing university curricula in biodiversity, conducting scientific research, organising workshops and conferences on Middle Eastern biodiversity, and translating the results of biodiversity research into conservation and sustainable development.