Dana Biosphere Reserve is a protected area in Jordan, known for its diverse landscape that attracts visitors from all over the globe. The reserve is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to the region.
The reserve is not only a natural wonder, but it also provides a unique opportunity to experience the traditional Bedouin culture and support local communities through sustainable tourism initiatives.
In recent years, the reserve has become a popular destination for travelers seeking to explore its natural beauty while also contributing to its conservation and supporting the local economy.
We spoke with Samer Muasher, the chairman of Bespoke Discovery and a former chairman of the RSCN, about the value of Dana Biosphere Reserve for the Jordanian tourism industry.
What Is Dana Biosphere Reserve?
Dana Biosphere Reserve is a breathtaking protected area located in the rugged terrain of central Jordan. With over 320 square kilometers of unique and diverse landscape, the reserve is home to a variety of ecological wonders that make it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
For Samer Muasher, Dana Reserve has an enormous sentimental value.
“My father, Anis Muasher, was one of the key players in the development of Dana Biosphere Reserve. It’s been a while, but I still remember how passionate he was about preserving that beautiful natural area. Given that, it’s not surprising that they named the visitor center in the reserve after him. It’s really touching to see his name up there and it makes me feel proud of everything he did to help the reserve thrive,” Mr. Muasher says.
The Value of Biodiversity Conservation
“With its unique and diverse ecosystems, this reserve has become a hub for biodiversity conservation, making it an essential destination for travelers interested in nature and conservation,” Samer Muasher explains.
One of the most important aspects of Dana Biosphere Reserve is protecting its diverse range of wildlife, including over 800 species of plants and animals. This includes endangered species such as the Syrian wolf, the Nubian ibex, and the caracal, which are all protected within the reserve. Additionally, over 215 species of birds can be found in the area, making it a haven for birdwatchers from all over the world.
Beyond the preservation of its wildlife, the reserve also plays a vital role in supporting the livelihoods of local communities. It is home to several traditional villages, where visitors can learn about the area’s unique cultural practices and traditions. Furthermore, the reserve serves as a source of income for local people through eco-tourism, as visitors are encouraged to explore the stunning landscapes and unique ecosystems that make the area so special.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to visit Dana Biosphere Reserve is the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of this unique landscape. With its rugged canyons, towering cliffs, and rolling hills, the reserve offers visitors an unforgettable journey into the heart of Jordan’s stunning natural world. From hiking and camping to bird watching and stargazing, there are endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the beauty of the reserve and gain a deeper appreciation for the importance of biodiversity conservation.
The Importance of Dana Biosphere Reserve in Preserving Cultural Heritage
Dana Biosphere Reserve is not only an important ecological reserve but also an area of rich cultural heritage. The reserve is home to several Bedouin tribes who have inhabited the area for centuries and have developed unique traditions, customs, and lifestyles.
One of the main roles of Dana Biosphere Reserve is to preserve this cultural heritage by providing a platform for the Bedouin tribes to showcase their way of life and share their knowledge and traditions with visitors. The reserve has established a number of Bedouin camps, where tourists can experience firsthand the Bedouin lifestyle, including their cuisine, handicrafts, and music.
The reserve has also implemented a number of programs to support and promote local crafts and traditional practices, such as weaving, pottery, and beekeeping. These programs not only help to preserve the cultural heritage but also provide economic opportunities for the local communities.
In addition, the reserve has established a museum that showcases the cultural history of the area, including its archaeological and historical sites. The museum provides educational resources for visitors and locals alike, and serves as a hub for research and preservation of the cultural heritage.
Sustainable and Community-Based Tourism
In recent years, community-based and eco-friendly tourism initiatives have been developed in the reserve. Their primary goal is to promote sustainable tourism while also supporting the local communities.
“Community-based tourism initiatives in Dana Biosphere Reserve are helping to promote sustainable tourism while also providing economic benefits to local communities. By supporting these initiatives, visitors can experience the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the reserve while also contributing to its conservation and supporting the livelihoods of local people,” Samer Muasher emphasizes.
One example of a community-based tourism initiative is the Dana Cooperative Society, which was established in 1996 by a group of local women. The society operates a guesthouse in the village of Dana, offering visitors an opportunity to experience the traditional Bedouin lifestyle. The guesthouse provides accommodation, meals, and guided tours of the surrounding area, which allow visitors to learn about the local culture and history. The society also sells handicrafts made by local women, providing an additional source of income for the community.
Another community-based tourism initiative in the reserve is the Feynan Ecolodge, which was developed by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature in collaboration with local communities. The eco-lodge is powered entirely by renewable energy and is designed to reduce the impact on the environment while providing a comfortable and authentic experience for guests. It provides visitors with a range of activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and stargazing. The lodge also employs local people as staff, providing them with valuable employment opportunities. It is also committed to sustainable practices such as using locally sourced and organic ingredients in meals, reducing waste through recycling and composting, and providing guests with reusable water bottles to minimize the use of plastic.
Dana Biosphere Reserve is a remarkable natural wonder that provides a diverse range of flora and fauna to visitors from around the world. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and abundant wildlife, the reserve is an excellent destination for eco-tourists, adventure seekers, and nature lovers.
The reserve’s efforts to promote sustainable tourism have helped to protect the environment and preserve the local Bedouin culture. As such, it remains a vital conservation area for the region and an inspiration to all those who visit it.