The Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD) – Assessment of Anthropogenic Impact On Biodiversity in Araba Valley

The Araba valley constitutes one area which rich biodiversity mandates energetic conservation efforts. The valley is a small part of the Syrian-African Rift Valley, stretching from the southern tip of the Dead Sea to the Red Sea. Despite the harsh climate Araba Valley supports a series of habitats with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna, Araba Valley has a particular zoological importance because it serves as a biological filter between the palearctic, Ethiopian, and oriental regions.

In December 2002 JSSD has conducted a 3 years project that aims to:

  1. To produce a series of biotic maps of the southern Araba based on currently available data.
  2. To identify different landscape units in the study area.
  3. To determine the distribution of different organisms and their relationship to the above landscape units
  4. To identify and map anthropogenic disturbance in the study area
  5. To produce a map of ecological sensitivities that characterize vulnerable biological landscape units in the southern Araba
  6. To design a tentative plan to conserve biodiversity in the study area depending on ecological sensitivity maps.

Specific taxa have been chosen to clarify the disturbance impact on biodiversity which include Mammals, Birds, insects, and reptiles. Such groups are used as an indicator for levels and types of disturbance in the Araba Valley. 

Field work continued for 2 years in several sampling units, which fulfill the following criteria: richness of species, adjacent to agriculture and residential development, and control groups for these target landscapes.

 It is important to consider the magnitude of the existing challenge to bio-diversity. This requires a synthesis of the sensitivity maps with the anthropogenic disturbance. The actual overlay of the two will reveal existing loci of tension and challenges for the conservation work. It will also provide an excellent basis for predicting the likelihood of threatened species survival over the long run, giving the best sustain development patterns and activities. In the future planning for the Arab Valley 

 The project end with creation of sensitivity maps by GIS unit in JSSD that will help the planners and the decision makers regarding the land use of the area in the future.

This piece is taken from the website of the Jordan Society for Sustainable Development.

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