Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
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|Motto||helping nature...helping people|
The Royal Society for The Conservation of Nature (RSCN) is an independent voluntary organization that is devoted to the conservation of Jordan's natural resources; it was established in 1966 under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Noor with the late King Hussein as Honorary President.
RSCN has the mission of protecting and managing the natural resources of Jordan, for it is responsible for protecting wildlife and wild places and is one of the few voluntary organizations in the Middle East with such a public service mandate.
The organization's principal activities include:
- Setting up protected areas to safeguard the best wildlife and scenic areas
- Breeding endangered species to save them from extinction.
- Enforcing governmental laws to protect wildlife, control illegal hunting
- Raise awareness in environmental issues through educational programs.
- Socio-economic development of rural communities.
- Promoting the sustainable use of natural resources.
The organization has made a number of important achievements include the captive breeding and re-introduction into the wilderness of the Arabian Oryx, gazelle and ibex. It has also established six protected areas within Jordan covering over 1200 square kilometers. These reserve areas include some of the finest natural landscapes in the country:
Feynan Ecolodge was constructed in 2005 by renowned architect Ammar Khammash at the western edge of the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Feynan Ecolodge is owned by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and is the first of its kind in Jordan. In September 2009, EcoHotels took over the management and operation of the lodge. Hailed as one of the top fifty ecolodges in the world by National Geographic Adventure magazine, the solar powered Feynan Ecolodge offers the most developed eco-experience in Jordan; an experience made possible by a unique partnership between EcoHotels and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature. Visitors have a chance to visit local Bedouin families, many of whom work at the lodge.
Preserving the Land
The protection of the natural biodiversity in Jordan is a prominent effort carried out by the Nature Guides. One way Jordan is trying to preserve its landscape is through hunting regulations that protect endangered species and animals from illegal poaching. For example, in the Yarmouk Nature Reserve, there is an emphasis on protection for the deciduous oak trees, which make up 85% of trees in Jordan. There are also hot springs and cold springs located in Yarmouk Reserve that if unregulated by the nature guides would be vulnerable to destruction or pollution by the tourists.
The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) has successfully reintroduced species and restored landscapes throughout Jordan. Since 2013, there has been local opposition from the Jordan communities near conservation sites. The surrounding communities are “expecting immediate gratification” with the intentions of the RSCN’s land preservation and hunting regulations. Locals in Jabal Masouda were under the impression that their land would be transformed into a nature reserve. Similarly, Karak, Petra, Tafileh, and Aqaba are being affected by the RSCN's restriction to allow their communities to log and their animals area to graze. The resistance from local communities originates from the restrictions on their use of the land and rights for economic benefits.
Reintroduction of Species
The RSCN has recorded 412 species in the Al Mujib reserve alone. Many species are being threatened due to water scarcity, land loss, and grazing from livestock. According Abdul Razzaq Hamoud, the director of the RSCN, there have been over 30 birds and 30 animals that have been seized by the RSCN due to unlawful possession. Many of the animals are being taken over the Saudi Arabian border. Once the animals are healthy, they are able to enter into the wild again. As a solution, the RSCN believes that raising awareness will help the animal species that are threatened. The purpose of the RSCN’s Nature Guide program is to provide tourists with first hand nature experience.
Restoration of Villages
Since much of the infrastructure in Dana Village is compromised, the RSCN has renovated the houses into tourist buildings, which are used for the eco-tourism efforts. The original houses that are located in Dana Village will be transformed into locations for tourists such as souvenir stores, restaurants, and hotels through the help of USAID’s $2 million. The need for “responsible nature tourism development” is paramount to the protection of the natural environment in Jordan. The RSCN's efforts are highlighted through their developments to enhance eco-tourism in Jordan and provide more awareness to the environment.
- Gemma Bowes (20 February 2010). "Feynan Lodge community project, Jordan | Guardian Green Travel List 2010 | Travel". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-01-15.
- Hana Namrouqa (29 May 2013). "Feynan Eco-Lodge wins int'l accolade from National Geographic". The Jordan Times. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- Aaron Trinidade (September 2013). "Jordan". Glass Magazine (London) (15): 164. ISSN 2041-6318.
- "'No Hidden Agendas Behind Yarmouk Reserve'". The Jordan Times. 8 July 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Local Communities Earn JD1.6 Million From Income Generating Projects in 2012". The Jordan Times. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Nature Reserves in the South Meet With Locals' Opposition". The Jordan Times. 22 May 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- Haddad, Naif A.; Sharaf A. Al-kheder, Leen A. Fakhoury (2013). "Al Mujib Natural Reserve in Jordan: - Towards an Assessment for Sustainable Ecotourism Management Plan Utilizing Spatial Documentation". Natural Resources and Conservation. 3 1: 65–76.
- "'Over 60 Endangered Animals, Birds Seized on Borders So Far This Year'". The Jordan Times. 11 August 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Kingdom Home to 434 Bird Species - Book". The Jordan Times. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- "Kingdom's First Certified Nature Guides Poised to Take Eco-Tourism to New Heights". The Jordan Times. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Namrouqa, Hana (21 April 2011). "Dana Village To Be Transformed Into Eco-Tourism Destination". The Jordan Times. Retrieved 19 March 2014.