Iraq’s Biodiversity 

The mountains of Kurdistan are included by Conservation International within its Irano-Anatolian Biodiversity Hotspot; one of a network of sites throughout the world which are rich in biodiversity but threatened by human activity. Kurdistan is also considered a Centre of Plant Diversity with a rich diversity of endemic species. 28 globally threatened and near threatened bird species occur in Iraq, of which 13 have been recorded in Kurdistan as breeders, migrants or winter visitors. It is part of the Fertile Crescent, this represents some of the oldest managed habitats on earth.

Key Biodiversity Area’s in Iraq

Project partner Nature Iraq has been working towards identifying a network of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) across Iraq (read more about the project here). The birds of the region are relatively well known. There is an Arabic identification guide Birds of Iraq and a recently published checklist (available in on the biodiversity page). Progress in identifying KBAs based on bird data has been good. However, plants are relatively poorly known and there is a lack of appropriate identification tools. Flora of Iraq and Flora Iranica, the two floras covering the region, are almost complete, but they are linguistically and technically inaccessible to Iraqi professionals and students. Some of these KBA’s have been proposed as Iraq’s first protected areas. Usable and widely available identification guides will be important for the long term monitoring and protection of these areas. 

The project 

The project aims to deliver training and generate data which can be used for conservation planning at a national level.  We are also modelling tools and approaches for protected area management at a local level on Peramagroon Mountain in Kurdistan. Peramagroon is a nationally important site for biodiversity and has been proposed as one of Kurdistan’s first National Parks. Approaches developed here can be implemented more widely across Iraq.  

Funding for this project comes from the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative programme.

Project Partners



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