Yarmouk Forest Reserve

Yarmouk Forest Reserve

Established in 2010 by the RSCN and located on the hills surrounding Umm Qais, the Yarmouk Forest Reserve is a protected area known for its deciduous oak trees, the national tree of Jordan. Yarmouk’s landscape provides a rich diversity of habitats for countless plants and animals. Over 16 species of large mammals, including the Caracal and Mountain Gazelle, have been recorded and the Yarmouk River even boasts one species of endemic Tilapia fish. Yarmouk is home to 14% of all of Jordan’s birds, making it an Important Bird Area and prime corridor for global migration. For many of these species, Yarmouk is their last hope: the Pygmy Cormorant, Marbled Teal, Griffon Vulture, and the Brown Fish Owl are all threatened with extinction on a regional or global level. Currently, forests constitute about 1% of the total Jordanian land area, which means that the deciduous oak trees in Yarmouk are more than scenic landscape; they are a national treasure. Although the pattern of their growth is not seen anywhere else in the Kingdom, these national trees of Jordan were not on any other conservation list and their national and regional survival was severely threatened by logging and overgrazing