Co-management of Range-lands - Al Yarmouk Forest Reserve, Jordan

The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
Published: 10 June 2020
Last edited: 02 October 2020
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The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) is the national organization mandated to establish and manage protected areas in Jordan. Established in 1966, it manages 10 PAs totalling 3,000Km2, representing 3% of the country. Also, RSCN leads the national program on socioeconomic development of rural communities, living in and around PAs, focusing on sustainable resource management and ecotourism. With an area of ​​20 km2, the Yarmouk Forest Reserve (YFR) is located in the northern corner of the Kingdom. YFR aims to conserve the relic forests of the deciduous oak in Jordan. YFR embraces four vegetation types including 450 species of plants, 150 species of animals, a 100 of which are birds. Further, YFR is of high cultural importance including the Archaeological City of Um Qais and the living heritage in small towns with their traditional practices. Communities living around YFR are mainly rural and depend on seasonal farming and livestock herding for their livelihoods.


West Asia, Middle East
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Temperate deciduous forest
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Local actors
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Traditional knowledge
Land and Forest degradation
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Physical resource extraction
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas


Irbid, Irbid Governorate, Jordan
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In recent years, due to prolonged drought periods and unsustainable land use, YFR’s biodiversity and land productivity have been deteriorating rapidly. Main threats include excessive grazing and wood cutting for subsistence and trade. In response, RSCN has adopted an integrated management plan to address all factors influencing YFR. The plan was developed with full participation of local users and includes a participative zoning scheme which comprises a sustainable grazing program in and around the reserve. The grazing management program includes components on rangeland protection and socioeconomic alternatives to livestock owners, all based on traditional knowledge, and delivered through collaborative measures: 1) a collaborative rangeland management platform, 2) rotational grazing program including no go zones in critical biodiversity areas, 3) program on improved herd productivity and reproductive cycles, and 4) a community –owned alternative low-cost fodder production unit.

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Tarek Abulhawa The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN)