Dana Biosphere Reserve: creating socio-economic development opportunities for nature conservation

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Landscape of Dana Biosphere Reserve

Dana Reserve was established covering an area of around 292 sq km. Living within and around Dana reserve were communities who were partially or entirely dependent on the area for their livelihood; most notably for the grazing of goats and sheep. These people were among the poorest and most disadvantaged in Jordan. They first perceived the reserve as depriving them of their traditional rights and of opportunities to exploit its resources for their own social and economic needs.  In order to address these problems, RSCN developed different types of income generating projects like : medicinal plants production and packaging, nature inspired jewelery production, and  eco-tourism. This was accompanied with financial and technical capacity building of its staff and local communities in ordr to help them manage these projects. RSCN's solution addressed the problem of branding and marketing, and created the "Wadi Dana" brand inspired from the main valley crossing the reserve.

Last update: 02 Oct 2020
Challenges addressed
Land and Forest degradation
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Scale of implementation
Rangeland / Pasture
Hot desert
Temperate deciduous forest
Temperate evergreen forest
Access and benefit sharing
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Sustainable financing
Gender mainstreaming
Local actors
Traditional knowledge
World Heritage
Dana Biosphere Reserve, بوسايرا, Tafilah Governorate, Jordan
West Asia, Middle East

Employment opportunities in Dana Reserve were filled by local residents, and the reserve targeted the families who were most dependent on the nature reserve for livestock grazing and other subsistence livelihoods. This has contributed in lessensing their direct negative impact on the reserve.


The fact the local commmunities were involved in the reserves programs like eco-tourism and socio-economic develoment projects (medicinal plants production and packaging, nature inspired hand-made jewellery) had also contributed in raising the awareness and ownership of the local communities towards their reserve.


The development of eco-tourism in Dana reserve has put the site as one of the top national and internation eco-tourism destinations. The campsite, tourism trails and the guest house attract a wide range of nature lovers looking for a quite escape in nature. 


Feynan Ecolodge, established in the desert part of Dana, has received international accolade naming it one of the top ecolodges in the world and commending it on its contribution to local economies, conservation of nature, and sustainable travel.


In 2017, Dana Nature Reserve contributed a total of 347652 JD's (490,000 US $) as direct and indirect benifits to the local communities among which were: salaries to staff recruited locally,  and local procurement of goods and services.

Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 15 – Life on land
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