NYT includes Dana Reserve in ‘52 Places for a Changed World’ list

Dana reserve was established in 1989, covering 292sq.km. of rugged landscapes, where the steep-sided mountains are lined with lush trees and shrubs. (Photo: Flickr)
AMMAN — Jordan’s largest and most diverse reserve; Dana Biosphere Reserve, is on the New York Times (NYT) 52 Places for a Changed World 2022 list, which highlights places “where travelers can be a part of the solution to problems like overtourism and climate change,” according to NYT. اضافة اعلان

In an article published by the NYT on January 10, Amy Virshup wrote: “In the past, the list has often focused on things like a newly hot restaurant scene, an exciting new museum, or the opening of a fabulous beachfront resort. This list, instead, highlights places where change is actually happening — where endangered wild lands are being preserved, threatened species are being protected, historical wrongs are being acknowledged, fragile communities are being bolstered — and where travelers can be part of the change.”

Dana reserve was established in 1989, covering 292sq.km.of rugged landscapes, where the steep-sided mountains are lined with lush trees and shrubs. Limestones, sandstones, and granite make up the area’s geology and a wide variety of wildlife and plants are found within the reserve.

The reserve includes more than 800 plant species, where some are exclusive to the reserve and have not been found anywhere else in the world. It is also home to several globally threatened birds and mammal species, like the Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus, Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni, Blanford’s Fox Vulpes cana, and Nubian Ibex Capra nubiana, according to the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) website.

“It is very prestigious (to be put on the NYT list),” President of RSCN Khalid Al-Irani, told Jordan News. He said that the reason behind Dana Reserve’s inclusion on the list is that it is internationally recognized as enjoying the highest biodiversity in one protected area in the world. In addition, RSCN’s sustainable approach allowed the local community to benefit and profit from the reserve.

Dana’s local community makes up 100 percent of the staff; travelers can contribute to the local economy by purchasing products from organic farming and locally made jewelry inspired by the reserve’s nature.

“New York Times recognized this. So when you go and visit, you make a difference because you contribute to the economy of the area and to nature’s conservation,” Irani said. “Dana contributes to one-quarter of visitors coming to Jordan, so it contributes to the national economy,” he added.

However, Irani affirmed that a prospective copper mining project in Dana, being considered by the government, “would drastically affect the reserve, if it happens.”

In August 2021, the government tasked the Ministry of Environment with redrawing the borders of Dana Biosphere Reserve that would make way for a copper mining project.  RSCN had condemned the controversial project, and said in a statement to local media that “resetting the borders of Dana Biosphere Reserve to begin copper mining changes the area from a place of nature, life and tranquility into a center of noise, pollution and dust.”

Hazem Nawafleh, a hotel owner at Dana Reserve, appreciated and welcomed the recognition by the NYT. “We have the most astonishing reserve in Jordan,” Nawafleh said.

Nawafleh and Irani believe this will encourage international tourists to visit Dana and amplify their awareness of its uniqueness and importance.

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