West Saharan montane xeric woodlands

West Saharan Montane Xeric Woodlands

Ecoregion Less

West Saharan montane xeric woodlands

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The West Saharan montane xeric woodlands is an ecoregion that extends across several highland regions in the Sahara. Surrounded at lower elevations by the largely barren Sahara, the West Saharan montane xeric woodlands are isolated refuges of plants and animals that can survive in the higher humidity and lower temperatures of the highlands.


The Sahara is a vast desert, stretching across northern Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Some mountains (Ahaggar, Tassili n'Ajjer, Tibesti, Aïr) rise up from the desert and receive more rainfall and mostly present slightly cooler summer temperatures. These highlands support dry woodlands and shrublands distinct from the hot dry desert lowlands.

This ecoregion has an area of 258,100 km² (99,700 square miles). The boundaries for the largest part of this ecoregion, which includes the Tassili n'Ajjer Ahaggar and Aïr (or Azbine) massifs, follow the 'regs,' 'hamadas' and 'wadis' above the 1000 m contour. This covers a good part of southeast Algeria. These areas reach almost 3000 meters in altitude. Additional areas further south were included within this ecoregion, including the Aïr ou Azbine in northern Niger, Dhar Adrar in Mauritania, and Adrar des Iforas in Mali and Algeria, using the 500 m-elevation contour.

The mountains of the West Saharan Montane Xeric Woodland ecoregion are found within the Sahara Desert and are predominantly of volcanic origin. They rise from the surrounding flat desert landscape or sand dunes...
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