Dana Biosphere Reserve
Ministry of Environment
Jordan, Tafileh Governorate
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The area of the reserve is approximately 300 sq kilometres. The Dana Reserve is a system of mountains and wadis, extending from the top of the eastern Rift Valley to desert lowlands of Wadi Araba, with an elevation drop of over 1600 meters through the reserve.
The reserve embraces 3 major bio-geographical zones and four distinct vegetation zones. This condensed variety of landforms and habitats, combined with dramatic changes in elevation, results in a vast biological diversity. The total number of species recorded so far consists of 690 plants, of which 3 are new to science, and 449 animals. Many of these are now very rare and some threatened to extinction: animals like the sand cat, the Syrian wolf, the lesser kestrel and the spiny tailed lizard. So far, 25 endangered or vulnerable animals have been found in the reserve, making it an area of global importance.
One of the remarkable vegetation types in the reserve is the Phoenician Juniper Vegetation. The most important tree species found are the Cupressus sempervirens, and they are the last remaining trees in the region.
Dana Biosphere Reserve is a part of a larger ecologically important area identified by Birdlife international as Dana Important Bird Area (IBA).
Dana Biosphere Reserve is an outstanding example representing significant major on going geological processes in the development of landforrns. The various rock and- soil formations found in the reserve demonstrate the geological stages that the area had undergone.
About 100 archaeological sites have been identified in Dana, of which are the ancient copper mines in Wadi Feinan that are particularly special, and they are considered as the most important archaeological complex in southern Jordan outside of Petra.
Statements of authenticity and/or integrity
Under Jordan's environmental law, natural reserves are protected and all issues related to their establishment and management are governed by a by law titled: "Natural Reserves and National Park by law". Dana has a management plan since 1996 with identified buffer zones. In addition, Dana renowned as a model of integrated conservation and development in a well managed man and biosphere reserve, where the protection of biodiversity goes hand -in-hand with improving the social and economic welfare of the local population. Over 800 people now benefit from these income generating schemes. Tourism revenue is covering all the running costs of the reserves.
Comparison with other similar properties
There are several side-wadis that have resulted from the Jordan Rift Valley but none of them has the special unique features concerning vegetation types or the high variety of geological features. The geomorphology of the site is unique since there are no sites that are even close.
Ecologically, the closest similar Juniper forest in the area is located in southern Saudi ArabidNorthern Yemen. That forest is not of the same species of Juniper as the one in Dana; Jurriperusplzoenicea. Also, that forest is not located along the Great Rift Valley.