Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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35o 47.75' East 32o 15.35' North
550 - 1,000m
Year of IBA assessment
Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
Site description The best remaining area of mature, natural Pinus halepensis forest in the country, on limestone slopes of the highest hill range in northern Jordan, between 550 and 1,000 m. Understorey of Arbutus and evergreen Quercus. Parts of the forest remain remote from habitation, although there are some pockets of agriculture. The surrounding area has oaks and olive groves as well. There is a much-used recreational area in the centre of the site, with parking spaces, barbecue sites, restaurant and playgrounds.
Key Biodiversity See box for key species. A representative bird assemblage of Mediterranean pine woodland, a rare and diminishing habitat in Jordan. Other breeding species include Dendrocopos syriacus, Phylloscopus bonelli and Parus caeruleus (the only known breeding site in Jordan for the latter two species), and other species observed during the breeding season in suitable habitat include Circaetus gallicus, Accipiter nisus, Falco subbuteo and Nectarinia osea. Lullula arborea winters in small numbers. Large numbers of migrating raptors have been reported in spring, but no details are known.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Sciurus anomalus (relict population). Flora: rare/endemic plants include Verbascum transjordanicum, Orchis collina, Biarum eximum and Globularia arabica; in addition, Cupressus sempervirens, Tulipa agensis and Cyclamen persicum are experiencing cutting or collecting pressure.