Although Jordan is a water-poor country with limited green spaces, it has considerable biodiversity, beautiful landscapes, and a strong network of protected areas. Over the last fourteen years, the U.S. Forest Service has worked with diverse partners including the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, the Hashemite Fund, the Princess Basma Youth Resource Center, the Ministry of Agriculture-Forestry Department, the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas, and the Ministry of Environment. Activities have focused on a wide range of issues, such as watershed management, forest conservation, institutional strengthening, law enforcement, conservation education and protected area management. This work has been made possible over the years through support from the U.S. Agency for International Development in Jordan and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
Jordan is one of the least forested countries in the world. Many of its remaining native forests face significant challenges from fire, disease, slow rates of regeneration, and increased loss of native species. Water scarcity often dominates the discussion of natural resource threats in Jordan. Landscape level conservation should be an important aspect of Jordan’s water conservation strategy, as it can help ensure conservation of rainwater currently lost during run-off and evaporation. The U.S. Forest Service cooperates with partners in Jordan to address soil and water conservation through technical exchange.
In 2016, the U.S. Forest Service launched the Sustainable Environment and Economic Development project, a two-year initiative funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development in Jordan designed to rehabilitate rangelands in Jordan’s eastern desert by increasing community involvement in natural resource management and boosting the survival rate of native seedlings.
The U.S. Forest Service also collaborates with the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas to implement a pilot watershed restoration project using a mix of native vegetation and stone structures to slow water flows and spread scarce rainfall across the landscape, increasing water infiltration and capturing more rain that is otherwise lost to runoff or evaporation. The techniques are replicable and have tremendous potential to improve the lives of communities across the Kingdom.