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Omayed Biosphere Reserve, Egypt

Omayed region lies at the western coastal desert of Egypt, and is located at about 80 km to the west of Alexandria and 200 km to the east of Matruh. Covering a total area of 75,800 ha and ranging from 0 to 110, the site was designated as a biosphere reserve in 1981 and extended in 1998.

Omayed Biosphere Reserve (OBR) area represents a variety of habitats, biological communities, land use patterns and human settlements of the Mediterranean coastal desert of Egypt. It comprises four villages with a total number of about 400 human beings.

Designation date: 1981


Regional network:  ArabMAB

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : N/A

    • Core area(s): N/A
    • Buffer zone(s): N/A
    • Transition zone(s): N/A

    Location: N/A

    Administrative Authorities

    Egyptian Environment Affairs Agency (EEAA) Omayed Experimental Research Area

    Boshra B. Salem

    University of Alexandria
    Moharram Bey
    21011 Alexandria

    Tel.: (2010) 144 9645


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    Ecological Characteristics

    There are five main habitat types at OBR: coastal dunes, inland ridges, saline depressions, nonsaline depressions, and an inland plateau. The area is located in a warm desert and semi-desert ecosystem with coastal calcareous dunes consisting of Ammophila arenaria, Euphorbia paralias, Pancratium maritimum etc.; inland ridges with skeletal shallow soils characterized by either Thymellaea spp. and Gymnocarpus decadrum communities or by associations of Plantago albicans and Asphodelus microcarpa; saline marshy depressions dominated by Salicornia fruticosa, Cressa cretica, Atriplex halimus etc.; non-saline depressions and inland plateau including species such as Artemisia monosperma and Hammada elegans associations (calcareous soils), Anabasis articulata and Hammada scorpia (shallow degraded soils) and Suaeda pruinosa and Salsola tetrandra communities (saline soils); pasture land, fig plantations; agroecosystems.

    Environmental constraints comprise land degradation, habitat fragmentation, overgrazing, loss of biodiversity, salinization of soil, and over exploitation of mineral and water (ground water) resources. The area is undergoing a serious transformation process form natural rangelands to agricultural lands, particularly after the extension of an irrigation canal and an extended irrigation networks from the Nile. The availability of irrigation water has influenced the whole lifestyle of the local community and has created conflicts in land tenure due to the increase in land prices.

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    There are many different tribes in the area, which supports some 5,500 people (1997). Being a biosphere reserve, the area is expected to serve as a site for sustainable development of natural resources by rationalizing ecotourism, rangeland management, propagating multipurpose woody species, and promoting local industries. It also has an important function in long-term ecological monitoring.


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    Last updated: October 2018