Conservation

Conservation

Environmental challenges facing our planet are unprecedented and facing them requires global efforts. These challenges are compounded in developing countries because of economic, education, and political issues. Palestine is unique in its position geographicaly at intersection of continents. This is combined with the geologic history due to tectonic plate movements that created the great rift valley (with the lowest point on earth at the Dead Sea) and a series of mountains from the Galilee to the Hebron mountains creating  a very rich bioiversity for a very small area. Yet, Palestine was subjected to decades of de-development, the lack of Palestinian sovereignty over natural resources, and politics that trump environmental issues and create environmental challenges hard to deal with. Significant demographic shifts developed in the past several decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Habitat destruction and environmental declines are notable [see research papers on this under te research tab]. But the question remains is there little to be done on the environmental and science front while we wait for the political situation to get resolved?

The Convention on Biological Diversity adopted at the Earth Summit Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, highlighted three key principles: conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of nature, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits.  Our work shows the value of combining basic research with education and conservation and with collaboration between academia, NGOs, and government officials and succeeding with limited resources.

For details on Conservation issues in Palestine we (MB Qumsiyeh and ZS Amr edited by Hans Seidel Foundation) published a report. Environmental Conservation and Protected Areas in Palestine: Challenges and Opportunities (2017). It is available at http://www.mahmiyat.ps/uploads/171013%20HSF_Bethlehem_Printed%20Version_NC.pdf

Palestine Sunbird photo taken by Dr. Anton Khalilieh

So far, we have helped with others including in the Environmental Quality Authority in issues of conservation in key protected areas. For examples:

  1. We did a series of studies on Wadi Al-Quff protected area near Hebron resulting in a management plan adopted by EQA. Six papers were published in one issue of the Jordan Jornal of Natural History as a result of this work and these papers are available HERE
  2. We did a detailed study on Wadi Al-Zarqa Al-Ulwi protected area near Salfit including not only survey of fauna and flora but also analysis of threats and designing plan of action and engaging local communities (including school students) in conservation issues. That work is available here: WadiZarqaTechnical