Yarmouk Forest Reserve

The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature is implementing the Integrated Ecosystem Management in the Jordan Rift Valley project, which aims to establish a network of reserves and special conservation areas in the Jordan rift valley region, Yarmouk is one area in a network of sites. It was announced as a natural reserve the 6th of January 2010 by the Prime Minister and became part of the national reserves network, which is run and managed by the RSCN.

Yarmouk Forest Reserve is located in the northwestern parts of Jordan, at the border with Golan hill. The total area of Yarmouk Forest Reserve is 21 km2. It contains two main topographic areas: Mountains which are covered by deciduous oak up to 500 m high above the sea level, and sometimes reach 100 m below the sea level punctuated by valleys of small and medium descend towards the Yarmouk river. Those small and medium descend valleys have a seasonal runoff with the exception of Shag Al Bared valley.

Yarmouk Forest Reserve is located within the Mediterranean biogeographical zone, which provides a warm climate in summer and a cold one in winter with an average rainfall of 400-600 mm / year. The reserve has four vegetation types: Deciduous oak forest , fresh water vegetation types, Mediterranean non-forest and Cultivated Aleppo Pine. The rapid assessment surveys show that there are 546 plant species, among them: Deciduous Oak, which is the national tree in Jordan, Atlantic Pistachio, White Willow, Oriental plane, Orchid Anatolian and Aleppo Pine. Fauna rapid assessment shows 18 recorded mammalian species, among them: Arabian Gazelle, Stone Marten, Rock Hyrax, Egyptian, Jungle Cat, Asiatick Jackal. Also 100 Bird species were recorded which count for 27% of Jordan’s bird population: Avifauna: Kestrel, Chukar, Sand Partridge, Moorhen, Hoopoe, Syrian Woodpecker, Collared Dove and Bee-eater. Also 19 herpetofaunal species were recorded at Yarmouk Forest Reserve, among them the Green Toad and the Palestinian Viper. The main challenges in the reserve are: Overgrazing, soil erosion, wood cutting, hunting, expansion of agricultural lands and random tourism, RSCN is preparing an integrated management plan to meet this threats in a participatory way with local communities.