New light for Jordan’s Plants: Mainstreaming Plant Key Biodiversity Areas into the national Conservation Planning Framework

Friday, November 1, 2019

Located at the intersection of three continents with varied physical characteristics and landforms, Jordan is blessed with a rich and diverse ecosystem. It encapsulates 4 biogeographical regions and thirteen different vegetation types with 2,622 vascular plant species representing 1% of the world's flora, among which 100 are endemic including the Black Iris Iris nigricans & Coastal Iris Iris atropurpurea, some of the few wild flowers familiar to Jordanians.

Unfortunately, plant diversity in Jordan faces habitat destruction and fragmentation due to the uncontrolled urban and agricultural expansion and expanding human activities, in addition to the impacts it endures as a result of global climate change, all leading to increased deterioration of natural habitats, destruction of ecosystems and overuse of their services, and loss of wildlife and genetic resources.

While several conservation initiatives took place in the last few decades contributing to enhancing the knowledge base on these plants, these efforts were still insufficient to provide accurate, up-to-date management oriented studies that could assist in dealing with those threats. Nevertheless, conservation of the national resources is critical to ensure sustainability and development in the country.

Therefore & in response to the threats facing the national biodiversity, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), BirdLife’s national partner in Jordan, is leading a project, funded by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF), that aims to “Mainstream Plant Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA's) into the National Conservation Planning Framework”.  

The three-year project covers the period from December 2018 to November 2021, where RSCN works closely with government institutions such as the Ministry of Environment (MoEnv), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), and the Ministry of Local Administration (MoLA), the National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC) and the Royal Department for the Protection of the Environment (Royal Rangers), and non-government organizations such as the Royal Botanic Garden (RBG) and academic institutions; such as the University of Jordan. In addition, RSCN targets the management teams and local communities of the protected areas in Dana Biosphere Reserve, Ajloun Forest Reserve and Yarmouk Forest Reserve.

Source: Birdlife International