At the end of June, 2011, UNESCO is expected to name Jordan’s Mujib Nature Reserve a protected biosphere reserve. The second such site in this small sliver of country, the Mujib Nature Reserve definitely deserves this distinction.
Home to a spectacular variety of fauna and flora, the 212 km2 reserve also features an incredible topography that climbs from 416 meters below sea level (near the Dead Sea) to high altitude summits.
The Jordan Times reports that Mujib Nature Reserve’s Director Hisham Dheisat met with reporters last week to discuss UNESCO’s upcoming announcement.
Home to 412 plant species, 24 mammals, 3 fish and 150 birds, the Mujib reserve named after the 13km2 Mujib Valley could benefit enormously from its new designation. According to Dheisat, of the 500 biosphere reserves in over 100 countries, 25 are located in the Middle East region.
The Mujib reserve offers a healthy rest stop to at least 37 species of migratory birds on the Rift Valley/Red Sea flyway and contains seasonal and permanent rivers that supply an already ailing Dead Sea.
In addition to drawing international attention to the site, as well as funding that goes towards maintaining its unique ecological niches, UNESCO heritage site designation often attracts local people to what can be a rich educational resource.
It is also true, in some cases, that local people could care less about a UN designation, but usually it creates a sense of pride.
:: Jordan Times
More on Jordan’s unique biodiversity:
all images via Mansour Mouasher