Biodiversity Conservation of Wadi Al-Quff Proteccted area (Central Palestine): Challenges and Opportunities
Albaradeiya, Issa Musa
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The Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are areas of high but threatened biodiversity. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, there have been increased resources devoted to capacity building and to develop nature protection systems highlighted by the introduction of the Palestinian Environmental Law 1999. One of the mandates of this law is to protect specific areas of high biodiversity and this gained even more importance with Palestine signing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Wadi Al-Quff (WAQ) region between Tarqumiya and Beit Kahil in the occupied Palestinian territories is an area of special attention as the first Palestinian administered nature reserve and the first one to receive detailed work to generate a management plan. As part of this work we report in these series of papers surveys on the flora and fauna. A significantly rich fauna and flora is noted but is facing a number of threats, with habitat fragmentation and destruction being the most significant. This survey recorded a rich fauna with more than 89 species of birds, 19 species of mammals, 21 reptiles, three amphibians, over 250 identified invertebrates, and over 230 species of plants, despite habitat degradation and limited sampling (time, resource limitations). As a result of our analysis we made four urgent recommendations and six less urgent but highly needed recommendations for biodiversity conservation of WAQ. Urgent recommendations include: 1) Cull/remove feral dogs, 2) Block roads and/or limit access in some areas of WAQ, 3) Discuss with farmers and others stake holders protection measures and limits on activities near or in the park, 4) Prevent fires. The longer-term recommendations are: 1) Monitoring and preventing unlawful activities, 2) Develop sustainable use of some areas, 3) Ameliorate habitat fragmentation and destruction, 4) Work to end the Israeli occupation and empower and educate local people, 5) Address climate change, and 6) Develop an environmental educational center in the protected area.
- Faculty of Science