March 11, 2017 by Species Ecology
Biodiversity in Jordan: A Review from the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
Jordan sits right between the crossroad of Northern Africa and Western Asia and this is one of the most influential climatic and geological factors that formulates its rich floral and faunal diversity. Jordan is divided into four different bio-geographical zones; the Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian and Sudanian penetration. There are 13 different vegetation types within these diverse zones, each representing different elements of flora and fauna.
One of the fundamental elements that works in favor of Jordan when it comes to spreading conservation and ecological knowledge and protecting biodiversity is the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). Established in 1966, RSCN adopted network of protected areas to conserve Jordan’s biodiversity and support local community development, while also promoting wider public support and action for the protection of the natural environment within Jordan and neighboring geo-political boundaries.
Jordan’s Biodiversity includes endemic species, it is stated at RSCN website that:
“Jordan’s flora is rich and highly diverse. Around 2,500 species of vascular plants have been recorded, belonging to 152 families, representing about 1% of the total flora of the world. One hundred species are endemic, forming about 2.5% of the total flora of Jordan, which is considered high in world standards”.
Despite the lion share of high proportional endemic floral species, the Azraq wetland in Jordan is an unique freshwater ecosystem of killifish (Aphanius sirhani)- the only true endemic vertebrate species of Jordan. The killifish is endangered because of the degradation that Azraq wetland faced from the excessive water pumping stemming from anthropogenic amplifications. Hence, ecological restoration work has been done on the Killifish habitat, in order to reverse the threat of extinction the killfish faces.
In order to create synergistic conservation and ecological awareness among public and to advocate for the constructive enforcement of the ratifications/treaties of international conventions, Jordan can step up further should the country provoke necessary political and economical infrastructure that mimic RSCN. Considering the current rate of degradation of the natural habitats and associate biodiversity loss due to urbanization and other adverse human practices, it has been felt that establishing similar organization as such RSCN in the Jordan can only improve the country’s conservation work both in situ and ex situ.