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Ajloun Forest Reserve
محمية غابات عجلون

jordan  

First Listed

2018

Area
6.78km2

Why is it Green Listed?

Ajloun forest was first proposed as a protected area in the 1978 survey. Its ecological importance is represented by the Evergreen Oak vegetation type, which is typical of the northern highlands of Jordan. As part of the Mediterranean bio-geographical region of the country, it is dominated by open woodlands that account for a significant part of Jordan’s forested area, which does not exceed 1% of the country’s entire land area.

Along with stretches of Evergreen Oak Quercus calliprinos, the thriving woodlands of Ajloun are dominated by Carob Ceratonia siliqua, wild Pistachio Pistacia palaestina and Strawberry tree Arbutus andrachne. Throughout the years, these trees have been important to local people for their wood and quite often for their medicinal and nutritional value or simply as a food source. These woodlands also support a wide range of plant and animal biodiversity, including herds of wild boarSus scrofa, the Stone Marten Martes foina, which is a carnivore that is known to be restricted to forest habitats, and the golden Jackal Canis aureus, which can still be found in good numbers in and around the reserve, as well as the Red Fox Vulpes vulpes, Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Persian Squirrel Sciurus anomalus, Indian Crested Porcupine Hystrix indica, and wolf Canis lupus. A wide variety of wild flowers thrive in Ajloun forest, including the Black Iris, several orchids and wild tulips, several of which can be found in CITES appendices. In 2000, Ajloun Forest Reserve was announced, by BirdLife International and RSCN, as an Important Bird Area in Jordan.

Yehya Khaled – Director General The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN)

“The participation of the Royal society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) in the IUCN Green List program contributed to the development of management of protected areas in Jordan through the engagement in the participatory evaluation process. The program has also given an international accreditation for the advanced level of protected areas that RSCN reached.”

Key Achievements

Conservation

  • Protected and restored diverse forest habitat including some of the last stands of Evergreen Oak woodlands in Jordan
  • Reintroduced native deer species and maintain a healthy level of biodiversity and habitat integrity
  • ‘Beyond’ boundaries outreach and connectivity to Haraj areas of community forests in the wider landscape

Good governance

  • Inclusive board with all stakeholder representatives, well embedded into local Governate structures and decision-making

Community benefits

  • Significant market benefits for local eco- and traditional produce
  • Ecotourism opportunities at all levels for local people and business

Site Attributes

WDPA ID

Size
6.78km2

Designation(s)
Forest Reserve

IUCN Category
IV

Year Established
1987

Marine Protected Area
No

Governance Type
State

Site Agency
Royal Academy for Nature Conservation (RSCN)

Site Manager
Othman Altawalbeh

Application
23.5.2018

EAGL Evaluation
12.11.2018

GL Committee Submission
12.11.18

EAGL Chair
Mohammed Zaarour

ASI Reviewer
Mounia Essefiani

Site Summary

Established in 1987, Ajloun Forest is located in the Ajloun highlands north of Amman. It consists of Mediterranean-like hill country, ranging from 600 – 1100 m above sea level, with a series of small and medium winding valleys. Its ecological importance is represented by the Evergreen Oak vegetation type, which is typical of the northern highlands of Jordan. As part of the Mediterranean bio-geographical region of the country, it is dominated by open woodlands that account for a significant part of Jordan’s forested area, which does not exceed 1% of the country’s entire land area. 

Along with stretches of Evergreen Oak Quercus calliprinos, the thriving woodlands of Ajloun are important to local people for their wood and quite often for their medicinal and nutritional value or simply as a food source. These woodlands also support a wide range of plant and animal biodiversity, including herds of wild boar, the Stone marten, which is a carnivore that is known to be restricted to forest habitats, and the golden Jackal Canis aureus, which can still be found in good numbers in and around the reserve, as well as the Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena, Persian Squirrel Sciurus anomalus, Indian Crested Porcupine Hystrix indica, and wolf Canis lupus. A wide variety of wild flowers thrive in Ajloun forest, including the Black Iris, several orchids and wild tulips, several of which can be found in CITES appendices. In 2000, Ajloun Forest Reserve was announced, by BirdLife International and RSCN, as an Important Bird Area in Jordan. 

Since launching its captive breeding program at Ajloun Forest Reserve in 1988, RSCN has managed to release a number of Roe Deer into the reserve, where they have continued to grow within their natural habitat. Ajloun Forest Reserve has one of the most effective outreach and public awareness programs among Jordan’s nature reserves.

1. NATURAL VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Ajloun Forest habitats Forest health checks and monitoring for species, habitats and coverage is carried out routinely and reported
Maintain at least 40% woody cover, and aim to achieve 50% woody cover -50% ground cover by end of 2020.
Forest habitats – especially evergreen oak stands – are in good condition.
Overall regeneration of the reserve continues and feeds into management activities
Biodiversity including special, rare and endemic species Bird species in particular are monitored in the reserve as well as in the surrounding landscape
Special, rare and endemic species are present and preferably in stable numbers over a five-year average period of time.
All values are stable and the majority demonstrate slow increases.
Good protection and improved habitat is generally good for most species. Some succession issues may occur. Integration with wider landscape and Debeen PA are actively promoted
Roe Deer population Reintroduction success is monitored on a regular basis since the release of 26 site-bred roe deer in 2006.
Roe deer population in the reserve and surrounding area is viable and at least 100 individuals are identified as using the Ajloun habitat.
Roe deer are well established in the Reserve but also in surrounding areas. 2018 estimate of 120 individuals.
Roe Deer well established and viable.
2. ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
The site ecosystem services are not technically identified, but they are referred to in the management plan, such as the regulating services of clean air, oxygen providing, and provision of natural resources like grazing ground, medicinal plants and herbs.
New integrated monitoring plan under development for 2019.
3. CULTURAL VALUES
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Visitor education and engagement in Nature Monitor the impact of tourism on local livelihoods, culture as well as on forest integrity, and also visitor experience.
Visitors numbered over 16,000 in 2016 and 18,000 in 2017.

Conservation Summary

Site visit report

EAGL meeting minutes

EAGL consensus and vote: The EAGL reached full consensus on recommending Ajloun Forest Reserve for the IUCN Green List


EAGL statement:

Ajloun is unanimously approved by the EAGL for its excellent management and the comprehensive technical support for all aspects of site performance by the RSCN authority. The site visit confirmed that all indicators were fully met or satisfactorily achieved. There are clear indications that the community and stakeholders are well aware and informed about the PA and its management. The advisory committee, chaired by His Excellency the Governor, is a valuable means to bring together the local groups with an interest and role in the PA’s management. Such support doesn’t happen by accident; the role of the Site Manager and staff in nurturing relationships and engagement was evident during the site visit. The local stakeholders were unanimous in their support, citing local jobs and opportunities for their people. The local socio-economic projects, tourism operations and the Royal Academy for the Conservation of Nature provide employment, and the PA staff assist the community in finding ways to benefit from the PA (e.g., Local family hosted meals and accomodation). RSCN staff have taken the Green List process seriously (from preparation stages onward), and expressed a genuine interest in making improvements as a result of the assessment. Overall, RSCN has demonstrated a high level of effective management. The EAGL confirmed three recommended conditions for a Green List decision:
– Indicator 2.1.2: Site to update Protected Planet status to include the management plan as well as management effectiveness evaluations. 
– Indicator 3.5.3: Site to make rules and regulations easily accessible on the internet. 
– Indicator 3.7, 4.1 & 4.2: The new monitoring and research strategy/plan currently being developed should address these indicators, and set priorities for future work. The strategy is targeted for completion by January 2019. It should be presented to the EAGL through COMPASS no later than March 31, 2019. 
– It is recommended that the monitoring and research strategy/plan (noted above), be multi-year (e.g., 5-year horizon, renewable annually) and address strategic and operational priorities. This will allow sites to more robustly meet indicators 3.7.2, 4.2.1 and 4.3.1. This plan should also be supplemented by annual monitoring and research project planning, with the results of annual activities better documented over time, and integrated into system databases.


Reviewer statement (Mounia Essefiani):

The Reviewer validates Ajloun’s Green Listing process as being in conformity with the User Manual’s rules and procedures. Since the RSCN site applied to be added into the Green List, they have proactively worked on conforming to the User Manual and the GL Indicators. The Reviewer confirms that the site not only took the GL process seriously since it first applied, but also used the GL Standard during the whole evaluation process, as an opportunity and a tool to improve, e.g. by implementing action plans resulting from the EAGL members assessment.  The self-assessment and evidence submitted by the site during the application and candidate phase indicators before the site visit, were subject to close scrutiny by the EAGL, and both the EAGL assessment and the site’s responses were conducted in full transparency at all times. Recommendations made by the EAGL are transparently mentioned in the EAGL’s statement. The EAGL voted unanimously for the recommendation of the site to be added into the Green List. Based on the whole GL process, Marnie Bammert’s feedback and the EAGL statement following the discussion, the Reviewer confirms that the site complies with the User Manual’s rules and procedures and submits the site to the Green List Committee for their final decision.

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