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Atlas of Jordan

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Myriam Ababsa

Chapter ten - Jordan Mega Projects for Water, Energy and Transportation

Environmental Challenges

Myriam Ababsa

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1For the past half a century, the country’s economic development has been at the cost of groundwater depletion, the loss of ecosystems (the Dead Sea, the Azraq oasis, of which only 10% of the surface area remains, and overexploited grazing pasture) and increased air and water pollution. The first environmental protection policies were announced in 1991. Nature reserves were created, with eco-lodges that are managed commercially by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, with reasonably effective coordination with local communities (Ajlun, Dibbin, Azraq, Wadi Mujib, Dana, Wadi Faynan and Wadi Rum) (fig. X.19).

Figure X.19 — Existing natural reserves and projected ones.

Figure X.19 — Existing natural reserves and projected ones.

2From the 2000s, thanks to international conferences on the environment and water, public awareness was raised concerning environmental issues. Programmes against desertification were better designed, with the reintroduction of the traditional system for the protection of badiya by setting aside pasture areas: hema. Land-use management plans were defined for each governorate to limit urban sprawl and building on farmland in the highlands. They were not strict enough to curb the loss of farmland south of Amman, due to high land speculation along the airport road.

3In 2002 a convention to protect biodiversity was establi-shed to safeguard animal species. The first environmental protection act was enacted in 2003 (Act 1). At the same time, the Royal Botanic Garden was designed, with the aim of reintroducing indigenous species from the last living specimens, and preserving traditional knowledge of medicinal herbs in the country’s various Bedouin and rural communities.

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Titre Figure X.19 — Existing natural reserves and projected ones.
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