Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN)
Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) is the BirdLife PartnerFounded in: 1966
Address: PO Box 6354, Jubeiha-Abu-Nusseir Circle, Amman 11183, Jordan
Mission of the organisation
RSCN aims to conserve the biodiversity of Jordan and integrate its conservation programs with socio-economic development, while promoting wider public support and action for the protection of the natural environment within Jordan and neighboring countries.
Achievements on the National and Strategic Level
- The Government gave RSCN official delegation to manage protected areas, through the signing an historic agreement with the Ministry of environment.
- Concepts of biodiversity conservation and sustainable agriculture were integrated within new Ministry of Agriculture strategies
- Long term conservation of important biodiversity areas within the Jordan Valley was secured through the integration of these areas within the Valley's land use plan
- The danger of the copper mining in the Dana Nature Reserve was prevented by a new agreement from the Cabinet, which prohibits all types of mining within the reserve
- Regulations to support the enforcement of the new Agriculture Law were developed in issues related to wildlife protection, hunting regulation, animal testing, bird ringing, and animal welfare in zoos
- The pioneering partnership between RSCN and the Police Department was further developed to activate the enforcement of wildlife protections laws and regulations
- The Ministry of Education supported RSCN in production of a specialized education CD about protected areas. This CD will be used by the Ministry to complement the school curriculum. The CD was produced by generous funding from the Dutch Embassy
Effective Management of Protected Areas
Azraq Wetland Reserve
- Conservation program of the endemic Sirhani fish continued and gained international recognition for this great achievement from the Ford Motor Company, which awarded RSCN its environmental award for a second time
- Creation of the first national bird ringing station. Modern technology is employed in the research programme, like web-cams and sound recording devices, in order to study and monitor the behavior of resident and migratory birds
- Expansion of the wetland-related socio-economic projects, providing more than 30 new job opportunities for local people
The Ajloun Woodland Reserve
- Her Majesty Queen Rania formally opened the reserve; an event that included her announcement of Ajloun as the environmental capital of Jordan. The reserve was also honoured to receive a formal visit from Prince Charles, through the invitation of Her Majesty
- A management Center including a fully equipped training hall, a restaurant and 10 wooden cottages accommodating up to 40 people were constructed, with support from The Spanish Agency for International Support and Cooperation (RESCATE), The Japanese Embassy and The Jordan River Foundation
The Mujib Nature Reserve
- Preparation of a comprehensive management plan for the reserve. The Reserve was also chosen to be one of the focal points for the "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants in Jordan" project. The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and administered by the World Bank in coordination with the Ministry of Planning
- The visitor centre, elevated walk way and campsite are opened officially and started to receive visitors interested in exploring the Reserve's unique wadi systems. The reserve also acquired the first and only solar powered boat on the Dead Sea to enable visitors to experience the Dead Sea in a new and unique way
- The socio-economic programme continued to develop, with the opening of a handicraft workshop in the village of Fag'ua and the training of local women to enable them to produce unusual jewellery
- The development of the ecotourism and socio-economic programmes at the Mujib Reserve were funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the European Commission
The Dana Nature Reserve
- A major milestone was the completion of the new eco-lodge in Wadi Feynan, on the western edge of Reserve. The lodge has a unique architectural design that reflects the local environment. The building contains 26 guest rooms, and uses a solar energy to produce electricity. At night, it is candlelit with candles produced by a local Bedouin workshop. The Lodge is constructed with funding from USAID
- The Reserve received a grant from the UNESCO to develop further the soap production project, which is anticipated to raise local community income and provide more employment opportunities around Dana Village
Establishment of a new reserve in Dibeen Forest
- Dibeen Forest, the latest RSCN reserve, is the most important natural forest of Aleppo Pine in Jordan. Its establishment is being supported by project funds from GEF and UNDP, which will be used to build a competent management team, prepare a management plan and develop sustainable economic uses of the forest, as well as build in-country capacity in forest management and land use planning.
Research for Conservation: New and special records
Over 200 plant species were recorded in Dibeen Nature Reserve, among which are rare and threatened species of Orchidiceae. The last year's special records include
- Pyramid Orchid - first record in Jordan, recorded in Dibeen
- Nazareth Iris - second record in Jordan, recorded west of Ajloun
- 10 carnivore species were recorded in Dibeen, most of which are threatened
- Mute Swan - third record in Jordan, recorded in the eastern desert
- Sanderling - third record in Jordan, recorded in Burqu' in Spring
A national water bird census was also carried out in order to provide a scientific base for decisions of the hunting committee. Results of the national water bird census will be included for the first time in two of the most important publications about water birds in the world "Numbers and distribution of wintering water birds in the Western Palearctic and Southwest Asia", and "Waterbird Population Estimates". Both publications are issued regularly by Wetlands International.
Enforcement of Wildlife Protection Laws
The enforcement of wildlife protection laws improved tremendously during 2004. The key achievements are as follows:
- Development of the Partnership with the Police Department
- Mechanisms introduced to guarantee effective implementation and monitoring of the International Convention on Trade of Endangered Species (CITES)
- More than 400 hunting licenses issued
- 1300 patrols carried out by RSCN rangers throughout the Kingdom
- 251 violators apprehended and 38 illegally caught birds, reptiles and mammals released
- 98 export and re-export permits issued during 2004
Environmental Education- Investing in the new generations
- Promoting concepts of biodiversity conservation to school children through different tools and media. Over 80 water conservation concepts were integrated within the national schools curriculum. A special education programme was developed about bird migration, with an interactive website and bird guide book among the education tools
- A regional workshop on sustainable development was held to introduce the concept of sustainable development to school teachers. Participants from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, Lebanon and Jordan debated the concept of sustainable development and ways of integrating that within the education system. The workshop was organized with support from Birdlife International
RSCN continued to develop eco-tourism in protected areas as a tool to generate income for local communities and biodiversity conservation, while at the same time raising visitors' awareness about the importance of conserving these sites.
Opening the Wild Jordan Centre- "We can't bring everyone to nature; but we can bring nature to everyone."
The centre was designed in a way that mixes past and present, and focuses on harmony with other buildings in the area. The centre includes a shop for the products of RSCN's reserves, a restaurant featuring organic foods and an environmental internet café. Wild Jordan has become the centre of RSCN's environmental awareness activities. a total of 62 events took place at Wild Jordan. The centre was Funded by the USAID.
New Initiatives and Project
Integrated Ecosystem Management in Jordan Rift Valley Project
The project’s main objective is to secure the ecological integrity of the Jordan Rift Valley, as a globally important ecological corridor and migratory flyway, through a combination of site protection and management, nature based socio-economic development and land use planning. It will provide a large scale pilot program for introducing the principles and practice of integrated ecological management throughout a productive landscape and thus a potential global model.
Spreading Regional: Regional Training Programme
In 2004, RSCN organized several training programmes funded by the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) aimed at developing the capacity of environmental practitioners in the neighbouring Arab countries. These included:
- Ecotourism development
- Management planning for protected areas
- Environmental awareness
- Methods of defining Important Bird Areas
- NGO's management
Start a new Regional Ecotourism Project
This project is launched to support and develop eco-tourism projects in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, linked to the protection of sites of high conservation value. RSCN will manage this project, which is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). It will focus on four main areas of work: the creation of an interactive regional network for eco-tourism, the development of model eco-tourism projects in each country, the strengthening of eco-tourism agencies and the improvement of relevant policies and legislation through better advocacy and awareness.