Eco Jordan

Jordan is continuously developing its eco-tourism sector. Though a small country, the Hashemite Kingdom has a high natural diversity, and several nature reserves welcome visitors to experience flora, fauna and cultural heritage. The reserves are managed by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), a non-governmental organization, established in 1966. The activities of the RSCN and its eco-tourism implementing division, Wild Jordan, aim to protect wildlife and wild places by setting up protected areas, offering environmental education programs, breeding endangered species, enforcing governmental laws to protect wildlife and control illegal hunting.

One of the intentions is to conserve the nature by promoting them as tourist destinations and support socio-economic development of rural communities. The different projects are created to have a low impact on the environment, provide direct funds for conservation, and benefit the economic development of local communities by providing jobs. Wild Jordan makes sure that employees at the sites are locals, while goods and services supporting the sites are also purchased locally. The RSCN also helps market and sell hand-crafted silver jewelry, and olive oil produced by the local communities.

The first eco-tourism project in Jordan was Dana, covering 320 square kilometers. The area is home to the Syrian wolf and other endangered animals, as well as 700 plant species, and 215 kinds of birds. The establishment of Dana Nature Reserve also helpt to resurrect the dying Bedouin village, providing residents with jobs helping run the reserve. The reserve is a paradise for hikers with 11 trails ranging from easy grade to tough 10-hours treks that demand some climbing and swimming.

At the moment the protected areas within Jordan cover over 1200 square kilometers:

  • Ajloun in northern Jordan, a hilly forest area featured by Evergreen Oaks.

  • Azraq Reserve, aiming to preserve the remaining wetlands in the eastern desert, still a stopover for migratory birds.

  • Dana, composed of spectacular mountains and wadis with a rich fauna and flora.

  • Dibeen Forest Reserve, characterized by pine oak forest and home of several endangered animals and plants.

  • Wadi Al Mujib, the lowest nature reserve in the world, and a wild area with small rivers, deep canyons and a high biodiversity.

  • Shaumari Reserve, where successfully the Arabian Oryx had been bred.

  • Six more reserves are planned, and the total land area of the 12 reserves will cover four percent of the country.

Eco-friendly accommodation can be found in Dana with the Dana Guest House and the Rummana Camp; the Al Azraq Lodge, once a British military field hospital, the bungalows of Ajloun; the chalets of Mujib at the Dead Sea and the eco-lodge of Feynan, where solar panels providing hot water and some electricity.

In Jordan more than 2000 species of plants grow. The highlands host forests of oak and pine, as well as pistachio and cinnabar trees. Olive, eucalyptus and cedar trees thrive throughout the highlands and the Jordan Valley. Jordan's dry climate is especially conducive to shrub trees, which require less water. Several species of acacia trees can be found in the deserts, as well as a variety of sturdy wild flowers and grasses.

About 70 species and subspecies of mammals and 73 reptile species live in Jordan. The majority consists of insects, lizards, and small mammals. Larger mammals are the Asiatic jackal, desert fox, striped hyena, wolf, camel, rabbit and sand rat.

Beside the land the Red Sea in Aqaba is a fragile eco-system comprising the northernmost distributions of coral reefs in the world. Around 1000 species of fish are known to exist in the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba. The Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan (JREDS) is dedicated to protect the marine life from further degradation. The JRDES focuses on the short, coastal area in Aqaba of 27 km. Currently, only 7 km of beach and coral reefs fall under the protection of the Aqaba Marine Park, and are still natural, devoid of ports, hotels and industries.





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