Experts on Monday stressed the international importance of Dana Biosphere Reserve for being “unique to historic and natural heritage” and so must be preserved.
During an interactive panel discussion titled “Communities Between Investment and Environment”, organised by the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation, experts said that Dana is “a unique location” with an added value for the national economy and the local community in Tafileh, 180km southwest of Amman.
The panel saw the presence of President of the Dibeen Association for Environmental Development Hala Murad, expert of Environmental Economics Amer Al Jabareen, former chairman of Tafileh Governorate Council Mohammad Al Khasbah and Director of Dana Biosphere Reserve Amer Ruffou.
“With the rise of copper mining in Dana Reserve, it is incumbent upon us to act and discuss it from different perspectives and take environmental issues seriously,” said Anwar Al Halah, the session’s moderator.
Ruffou said that the location has 38 species of mammals, 891 species of plants and seven patterns of vegetation, out of the 13 vegetation patterns registered in the entire Kingdom.
Ruffou added that Dana is home to 216 species of birds, which equals almost 50 per cent of the birds in the Kingdom.
He also noted that Dana’s importance is not restricted to nature and the environment, but it is also an important archaeological location. Within the reserve, 98 archaeological sites have been recorded, including Khirbet En Nuhas, which is regarded as the second most important historical site in the south of Jordan.
Ruffou noted that environmentalism is not a “stumbling block to economic growth” and that experts offer “a unique model of economic development that is based upon green and sustainable economy”.
He added that the reserve directly employs 78 people, in addition to indirectly employing hundreds of others.
“It is essential to have investment projects in Tafileh to reduce unemployment rates in the area,” Khasbah said.
“There are still ongoing studies that might take from two to four years,” Khasbah added. He highlighted the need to find a model that would balance environmental preservation and secure investment.
During the panel session, Jabareen emphasised the importance of maintaining the balance of nature’s constituents.
Murad noted in her remarks that logging has become a daily constant in Jordan and the national forest inventories are decreasing due to the continued encroachments.
“Despite the existence of a strong legislative system in place to protect the environment, forests and trees, they still face continuous attacks,” she noted.
Source: Jordan Times