Jordan: a natural reserve intended to be declared as new Ramsar Site

After attending the International Conference on the Sustainable Development of the Lower Jordan Valley (see article), the MedWet Senior Advisor Nejib Benessaiah has been invited to visit the Sebkha of Fifa, a protected area newly designated at the national level in 2011. With the assistance of the Royal Society for Conservation of Nature (RSCN) the Jordanian Ministry of Environment is intending to declare this national reserve as the second Ramsar Site of the country.

photo 1Fifa is a temporary salt sebkha located at the South of the Dead Sea, and the lowest sebkhas in the world (minus 420m below the sea level). It is hosting some specific halophytic vegetation and at least two endemic bird species (the Nubian Nightjar, Caprimulgus nubicus; and the Dead Sea Sparrow, Passer moabiticus) which has become very rare in the country due to habitat destruction. In addition it is hosting the endemic Richardson’s Killifish Aphanius richardsoni of the Arabaian killifish group. The area is about 27 hectares and surrounded by two rural communities, farmers and breeders. The actual management plan is actually giving a high importance to the involvement of those local communities in the conservation plan axes. The recent studies that have been prepared by RSCN in 2011 will be certainly helpful to start the Ramsar designation process as Ramsar Site.

photo 2Mr Ahmed Al-Quatarneh, Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment and Mr Raed Bani Hani, Ramsar and MedWet focal point focal expressed their deep interest into designating this protected area as the second Ramsar Site of Jordan.

Mr Abdullah Al Kloub, RSCN, has kindly facilitated the field visit for the MedWet Senior Advisor and was present in the meeting in the Ministry of Environment.

More information

Contact RSCN: Ibrahim Mahasneh

Fifa Protected Area Site Manager