LIVINGAGRO, new field visit in Jordan sets the basis for further collaboration with the Royal Botanic Garden and the Dibeen Forest Reserve
A new round of field visits organized in the framework of the LIVINGAGRO project was initiated on the 20th of July 2022 in Jordan by the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC). This additional Jordan visit took place at the Royal Botanic Garden and at the Dibeen Forest Reserve in the Jerash Governorate during which a group of researchers from NARC, Jordanian universities and local associations met the representatives of the two involved institutes.
As pointed out during the visit by the project coordinator for NARC, Dr. Salam Ayoub, who introduced LIVINGAGRO project, the initiative was aimed at collecting and exchanging information as well as experiences in order to identify possible collaboration initiatives to be activated between the project, the Royal Botanic Garden and the Dibeen Forest Reserve with specific reference to innovation in the Jordan agroforestry sector. During the joint visit, an introduction about the Royal Botanic Garden was given by its director of programs and projects, Dr. Mustafa Al-Shudiefat, who presented activities and achievements of his institution in the fields of biodiversity conservation, protection of rare local plants, seed conservation and propagation, pasture rehabilitation and sustainability, environmental awareness, implementation of research activities and scientific publications including the Jordan Plant Red List, the Plants of Jordan, the Sustainable Management of Forests. In addition, Dr. Al-Shudiefat explained the major role of the Royal Botanic Garden in supporting the local community in the framework of capacity-building programs and diversification of their sources of income as well as the conduction of grazing studies and innovative community-based rangeland rehabilitation by introducing managed grazing protocols for the livestock owners.
After the presentation part, a field tour was organized to the facilities of the Botanic Garden including the nurseries, the National Herbarium and the seed bank. During the visit to the Dibeen Forest Reserve, which belongs to the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), the participants were informed about the Reserve's activities in the field of conservation of Aleppo pine and oak forests, maple trees, pistachio, wild olives and endangered plants, and its role in serving the local community through the implementation of multiple productive projects managed by RSCN. In addition, the role of the Reserve in the grazing and livestock sector in collaboration with the owners to manage the pastoral load of the grazing land was highlighted. It is worth to mention that the ecosystem of Dibeen Forest Reserve boasts the presence of 517 plant species and hosts at least 17 endangered species, such as the Persian squirrel and many important species at global biodiversity level.