email a friend
printable version
For birds and people in the Jordan Valley: a landscape approach

© Dale Gillard/Flickr

The Jordan Valley—which borders Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan—has been transformed into densely settled farmland. BirdLife Partners are working together in these countries on a community-based project, which is a landscape-level, long-term approach to nature conservation and peaceful coexistence between the peoples of this war-torn region.


One hundred years ago the Jordan Valley was a sparsely populated and wildlife-rich landscape of steppes, savannas, floodplain wetlands and scattered oases. Today, irrigation and energy networks have transformed these rangelands at the borders of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan into densely settled farmland.

Intensive land uses now threaten the ecological integrity of the valley, through urban and industrial sprawl, depletion of surface water and aquifers, salinisation of soils and waters, and pollution by farm chemicals, factory and sewage wastes. Poverty and inequality affect many of the agricultural communities in the valley. BirdLife Partners in these countries are working together on a community-based project, the vision of which is to transform the Jordan Valley into a more ecologically sustainable region, through a combination of nature-based socioeconomic development and better land-use planning, site protection and management.

Three centres have been established in the Jordan Valley (one per country), and are coordinating their work towards the project’s objectives, which are:

  • to support an ecological network of key biodiversity areas throughout the region, including the 10 Important Bird Areas already identified, and to support scientific research on, and monitoring of, the region’s wider environment
  • to promote sustainability in businesses and more sustainable practices among land-use sectors (e.g. organic agriculture and eco-tourism), so as to generate employment and alternatives for local people
  • to provide environmental information and awareness programmes and projects tailored specifically for local people, businesses and municipalities in the valley
  • to inform and influence each country’s government policies, plans, programmes and projects in the valley, with respect to environmental issues and objectives, and to promote compliance with existing environmental regulations and plans
  • to promote dialogue, conflict resolution and co-operation between different interest groups such as developers, farmers and environmentalists.

In the longer term, a network of nine such centres is planned (three per country). By taking a transboundary approach to nature conservation, BirdLife Partners are encouraging coordinated environmental action between countries and building new economic infrastructures for the region. The project is thus a landscape-level, long-term approach to nature conservation and peaceful coexistence between the peoples of this war-torn region.



References

Lambertini (2003) Ali Notizie 38: 2–3.

Compiled 2004

Recommended Citation:
BirdLife International (2004) For birds and people in the Jordan Valley: a landscape approach. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/234. Checked: 25/10/2014