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Location Lebanon, Beqaa
Central coordinates 35o 47.10' East  33o 43.89' North
IBA criteria A4i, B1i, B1iv
Area 280 ha
Altitude 860 - 870m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Society for the Protection of Nature and Natural Resources in Lebanon

Site description The largest remaining freshwater wetland in Lebanon, lying at 865 m on the western side of the Bekaa valley, fed by the El Rhabe stream from springs high up in the Lebanon Mountains. It is bordered to the south by the straight-cut, canalized Riachi river, and to the north by the Houjier river. The main area floods markedly beyond 280 ha (especially towards the north-east) in February-March due to late winter rain and melting snow, but dries out between August and November each year. There are extensive Phragmites beds, interspersed with open fields of coarse pasture, and there are trees along the Litani and Riachi rivers; native Salix have almost died out, but Populus and Cupressus have been introduced. The site is a major water resource for people locally, and large flocks of goats and sheep are moved into the swamp for grazing during the dry period of August-November. Other main land-uses are hunting (hunters come from all over Lebanon, all year but especially between autumn and spring), tourism and recreation. More locally the site is used for cultivation and fishing.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Stork Ciconia nigra passage  1997  555 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
White Stork Ciconia ciconia passage  1997  18,392 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1974-1975  7,500-15,000 individuals  poor  B1iv   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ammiq Wetland Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 280 is identical to site 280  
Shouf UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 52,260 protected area contains site 280  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Permanent freshwater marshes & pools; Permanent rivers, streams & creeks; Seasonal & intermittent freshwater marshes & pools  major
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Pasture land  minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland major
agriculture minor
Notes: Grazing in dry season
hunting major
tourism/recreation major
nature conservation and research major

Other biodiversity Mammals: Lutra lutra (rare) recently went extinct.

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Assad Serhal.

References Carp (1980), Macfarlane (1978), Tohmé and Neuschwander (1974).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Aammiq wetland. Downloaded from on 29/07/2014

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